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President Trump Hold White House Summit on Social Media Bias

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WASHINGTON – U.S. President Donald Trump railed against “dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression” online as conservative activists flocked to the White House on Thursday for a so-called “Social Media Summit.”

The President hinted Thursday at new regulations on social media as he gathered critics of major online platforms at a White House “summit.”

President Trump invited conservative speakers who have been curbed or banned on social media to press his argument that big social networks are discriminating against conservatives, notwithstanding his large online following.

“A big subject today at the White House Social Media Summit will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies,” Mr Trump tweeted on Thursday ahead of the summit.

“We will not let them get away with it much longer.”

President Trumps comments have stoked fears that the Trump Administration may seek to eliminate the legal framework that protects online services from liability over harmful content posted by others but hosted on their platforms.

Digital rights activists and others warned that removing the protection — codified as Section 230 of a 1996 law — could undermine free speech protections and harm the internet ecosystem.

The firms already are under closer scrutiny than ever by regulators and in Congress following a stream of scandals including Facebook’s lapses opening the personal data of millions of users to the president’s 2016 campaign, and a bipartisan push for new data privacy legislation has emerged in Congress.

Regulators at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are meanwhile pursuing antitrust investigations of Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon.

Twitter, Facebook and Google

Meanwhile, Michael Beckerman, president of the Internet Association, which includes Twitter, Facebook and Google said “Internet companies are not biased against any political ideology, and conservative voices in particular have used social media to great effect.”

“Internet companies depend upon their user’s trust from across the political spectrum to grow and succeed.”

Twitter said last month it would add warnings to tweets from officials and politicians that violate its rules.

Computer & Communications Industry Association, a trade group whose members include Facebook and Google, said the White House event “seems designed to intimidate companies to bias content in favor of whoever is calling the meeting.”

“No private company should be browbeaten by the government into giving a pass to objectionable content that violates company policies,” CCIA president Ed Black said in a statement.

“Social media sites may wish to allow many types of speech, but should not be required to stay neutral on hate or religious intolerance.

“If those airing grievances at this week’s meeting are unsatisfied with one company’s policy against objectionable content, there are plenty of competitors from which to choose.”

Source: Independent, Associated Press