Donald Trump is reportedly considering putting together a panel that would investigate whether social media companies are showing bias against conservative voices, an allegation that the president has repeatedly lodged.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump has not yet taken any steps to put together such a panel, but is considering a committee that could have an influence on decisions made by the Federal Trade Commissioner and the ability to review conduct by companies like Twitter. It was not clear if the panel would be able to recommend any specific actions taken against companies found to be in any form of violation.
As The Daily Beast noted, Trump has accused these companies of being under the control of the political left and of using their power to squelch conservative voices.
“The Radical Left is in total command & control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google,” he tweeted earlier this month.
Last year, Trump hosted a social media summit where he invited a number of popular conservative figures, largely those who have been vocal in their support of him. At the event, Trump also accused social media companies of “shadow-banning” right-wing politicians, a phrase that refers to an action taken to prevent people from seeing their posts without telling the person that they have been banned.
Trump also suggested that companies may be limiting the visibility of his own posts.
“It used to go up, it would say 7,000, 7,008, 7,017, 7,024, 7,032, 7,044, right? Now it goes 7,000, 7,008, 6,998. Does anyone know what I’m talking about with this? I never had that before. I used to watch it. It would be like a rocket ship when I put out a beauty,” he said, via Quartz.
Trump’s attacks on social media platforms have been met with resistance from some First Amendment groups and defenders who say it is improper for the president to try to exert control over these companies and what decisions they make regarding internal policies.
Social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube have banned a number of far-right figures in recent years for violations of site rules, including many who have been fervent supporters of Trump. That includes actor James Woods, a vocal supporter of Trump who was reportedly suspended from Twitter after a reply to “hang them all” in response to the release of Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Trump has frequently spoken out in support of those that have been banned or disciplined in other ways.