A significant number of American citizens have watched with growing concern how the handful of far-left dominated social media platforms and tech companies have worked to censor voices and opinions that don’t fully align with progressive leftist orthodoxy.
As more and more right-leaning voices are silenced by social media — either through temporary suspensions, shadowbans or even permanent removal from a platform — a chorus has arisen demanding that President Donald Trump and his administration stand up and take action in defense of free speech.
It would appear that the president has heard the call and taken the first step of addressing the problem by putting out a call of his own for Americans to share how they have been impacted by social media censorship.
The White House tweeted on Wednesday, “The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online. No matter your views, if you suspect political bias has caused you to be censored or silenced online, we want to hear about it!”
The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 15, 2019
The tweet featured a picture of President Trump in the Oval Office that read: “Social media platforms should protect free speech.”
Perhaps more importantly, the tweet also included a link to a specially-designed webtool for reporting alleged incidents of censorship and sharing the various experiences of users who feel they’ve been silenced in some form or fashion.
The landing page for that webtool simply reads: “SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies.”
“No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump,” the prompt added, followed by a “start” button that leads to a series of questions.
Politico reported that the tech bias form asks for such information as an individual’s name, age, contact information and even citizenship status. It also provides space for users to describe their experiences and even upload screenshots of communications with platform authorities or the allegedly “offending” post that got the user into trouble.
The news outlet noted amid the expected partisan pushback to the administration’s move were privacy concerns about the collected information and how it might be used.
It remains unclear at this point exactly what the White House intends to do with the various stories it collects from social media users, and the White House declined to offer any specifics to Politico when asked.
As of now, it appears this may be little more than a fact-finding venture that could lead to potentially significant action in the future, depending on the level of response the White House receives.
Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and tech companies like Google have studiously denied holding any ideological balance or censoring users for partisan reasons — though ample evidence suggests otherwise — and media outlets like Politico, along with most Democrats, buy that excuse and steadfastly deny that there is any political censorship that is occurring.
But that excuse doesn’t really hold up when Americans repeatedly see conservative-leaning users get suspended for, at times, rather mundane reasons or supposed infractions when overtly liberal users who are blatantly violating the various platform’s terms of services appear to go unpunished.
Now, most conservatives and libertarians are rather reticent to see the federal government step in to interfere with and regulate a free market and private companies. However, in this case, there really isn’t a “free” market when it comes to social media and tech, as a small handful of massive corporations have come to dominate and monopolize the market.
Think of it this way: What would our nation’s founders have done if only one or two major corporations had controlled the market of parchment, inkwells, and quill pens at the time of the Revolution, and only allowed those with a favorable opinion toward Great Britain to make use of such mediums? The current situation isn’t much different than that.
It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes from this overture from the White House for personal stories of social media censorship. One thing is clear — President Trump is not ignoring the issue, and he appears ready to take action in the defense of our right of free thought and speech, even if that speech is deemed unpopular by the mainstream ruling elite.
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