Washington: US President Donald Trump on Thursday accused the world’s top social media firms of being “biased” against him and his proponents and said that his administration will set up “regulatory and legislative solutions” in an effort to protect freedom of expression online.
“We have terrible bias and we have censorship like nobody has any understanding or nobody can believe,” The Hill quoted Trump as saying while speaking at the so-called social media summit at the White House.
The dummy summit saw the attendance of about 250 members including top government officials and a host of right-wing social media personalities. Representatives from tech giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google were not invited to the summit.
Trump informed that a meeting will be convened by him with social media companies at the White House next week over concerns of regular censoring of right-wing perspectives. He also said that Republican and Democratic Congress members will be invited for the upcoming meet.
“We’re going to be calling a big meeting for the companies and they have to be here,” he asserted.
Acknowledging that social media has been a boon to him during electioneering and in his presidential tenure, Trump said that press statements “rarely” get pickups on their own, adding that “if I put it out on social media, it is like an explosion”.
Calling the gathering as “online journalists and influencers”, Trump said, “You are challenging the media gatekeepers and the corporate censors to bring the facts straight to the American people and that is what you are doing.
Missouri Senator Josh Hawley, a conservative tech critic from the Republican Party said at the event, “Google, Facebook and Twitter — they have gotten these special deals from government. They are treated unlike anyone else. If they want to keep their special deal, here is the bargain: they have to stop discriminating against conservatives.”
The so-called social media summit had focussed on airing claims of anti-conservative social media bias and discrimination. However, civil rights groups have slammed the event, stating that some top officials who had attended the event were accused of spreading fake news and misinformation online.
“I see this summit as a propaganda tool to pressure social media companies to allow hate, racism, xenophobia and religious bigotry, homophobia, to run wild,” Jessica Gonzalez, the founder of the ‘Change the Terms’ coalition told The Hill in a telephonic interview.
In a series of tweets on Thursday morning, Trump had insisted that he could have won the presidency in 2016 without the help of social media.
However, he immediately contradicted himself in the follow-up tweets claiming that he does not need the mainstream media and that social media is much more important.