A recent report from The Wall Street Journal claims that Donald Trump is considering putting together a White House commission to review anti-conservative bias and censorship on social media platforms. As reported by The Daily Caller, the Trump administration is also looking to pressure the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Election Commission to conduct their own reviews of such purported bias.
Speaking to The Wall Street Journal, a White House official touched on the possible program’s importance.
“Left-wing bias in the tech world is a concern that definitely needs to be addressed from our vantage point, and at least exposed [so] that Americans have clear eyes about what we’re dealing with.”
The possible committee comes one year after Trump launched a tool that allowed users to submit their experiences of oppression on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. According to The New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose, the survey was not likely a tool for combating social media bias. Instead, he claims it was more likely an attempt to gain information to be used to target social media ads.
The president previously hinted at the possible committee in a May 16 tweet.
“The Radical Left is in total command & control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google,” he wrote, adding that his administration is looking to “remedy” the “illegal situation.”
Twitter, Facebook, and Google all pushed back against Trump’s accusation. In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Twitter claimed to enforce its rules “impartially for all users.” As for Facebook, the company released a press statement that highlighted the alleged pushback it has received from both liberals and conservatives.
“People on both sides of the aisle disagree with some of the positions we’ve taken, but we remain committed to seeking outside perspectives and communicating clearly about why we make the decisions we do.”
Google responded to the accusation by claiming that its products are designed with “safeguards” to ensure they are a “trustworthy source of information” for people of all political leanings.
Trump blasts social media companies for censorship: "A free society cannot allow social media giants to silence the voices of the people. A free people must never, ever be enlisted in the cause of silencing, coercing, canceling, or blacklisting their own neighbors" pic.twitter.com/qhWUHbFM1R
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) September 24, 2019
Per The Verge, the conservative battle against purported social media bias is a long-running one. Last year, Congressional committees held hearings in which they questioned Facebook and Twitter about concerns of conservative censorship on the platforms. Trump himself has accused Twitter of “political games” and complained to the platform’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, that he was losing followers on the platform.
Social media companies continue to face scrutiny for the way they filter their content. As noted by CNET, Trump’s account is one of many high-level political accounts that has violated the company’s anti-abuse policies. The publication implies that Twitter’s decision to permit such violations is due to the high profile of the accounts.