Donald Trump has announced plans to meet executives on major social media firms at the Whitehouse. In a meeting with conservative social media users, the US President said he would also invite Congress to the meeting and possibly his fans.
According to Reuters, the president said he would “be calling a big meeting of the companies in a week or two — they have to be here”.
He did not list exactly which companies he would invite but hinted that they would be discussing platform bias. He also talked about the need to protect free speech on online platforms and said that his administration is exploring solutions to this.
“Each of you is fulfilling a vital role in our nation – you are challenging the media gatekeepers and the corporate censors to bring the facts straight to the American People,” he later tweeted. “Together, you reach more people than any television broadcast, BY FAR!”
First Amendment and Social Media
It’s not the first time social media giants have been accused of right-wing censorship. During his hearing, Mark Zuckerberg was quizzed extensively on his platform’s attitude. Over the past year, Facebook, Apple, YouTube, Spotify, and more banned right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their platform.
Many of the companies were not immediable available to comment. However, a Twitter spokesperson told CNN they “couldn’t know what we’d do in response to a hypothetical invite to a hypothetical meeting”.
Most social media platforms have policies that punish hate speech, violent content, and other reprehensible practices. These don’t necessarily line up with the US constitution, but the private companies are attempting to cater to a global audience.
Unfortunately, social media companies don’t always do a good job of explaining why users were banned. Generic statements about community standards being violated as well as a prominent left-wing culture in some big tech companies don’t tend to help matters. The White House has yet to comment on Trump’s assertion, so only time will tell if it will follow through with the meeting.