TRUMP MEETS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES ON CENSORSHIP


SOURCE THE HILL ‘Hillicon News’

President Trump on Thursday denounced the world’s top social media companies as being biased against him and his supporters and pledged that his administration will be exploring “regulatory and legislative solutions” to protect free speech online.

“We have terrible bias, we have censorship like nobody has any understanding or nobody can believe,” he said.

Trump’s remarks came at the White House’s controversial “social media summit,” which drew about 250 attendees including top administration officials and a crowd of right-wing social media personalities.

The summit incited pushback and controversy even before it kicked off, as Democrats and leading tech groups greeted it with criticism and skepticism.

The event itself featured panels and discussions followed by a long and winding speech from Trump, which came off as a campaign speech at certain points as he touted his administration’s economic and trade accomplishments. The president spent the bulk of the speech boasting about his own prolific social media following — he has hundreds of millions of followers across multiple platforms and regularly takes to Twitter to break news and insult his foes.

Trump also acknowledged that social media has been a boon to him on the campaign trail and in the Oval Office, saying press releases rarely get pickup on their own but “if I put it out on social media, it’s like an explosion” and noting that he’s watched his follower count tick up.

What’s next: The president announced that he will be convening a meeting of the companies at the White House next week over concerns that they routinely censor right-wing perspectives. “We’re going to be calling a big meeting for the companies, they have to be here,” Trump said, adding that he’ll be inviting Republican and Democratic members of Congress to join.

The big picture: The White House’s escalating campaign will add to the troubles of tech companies, which have spent years denying claims of political bias as unfounded and unfair. Facebook, Twitter and Google — none of which were invited to the summit, which featured ample talk of bias and the unparalleled power of Big Tech — all declined to comment on the meeting.

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