With recent reports of social media platforms censoring conservatives, the White House established an online tip form for Americans to report bias to President Donald Trump.
“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,” The website said. “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 tool asks users what platform they have been penalized on. The categories include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or “other.” One a user selects the social media platform, they are asked for screenshots and links of the content that’s deemed offensive. A text field is provided where users can describe the enforcement actions taken against them, The Verge reported.
The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 15, 2019
The survey immediately triggered widespread criticism. Free-speech advocates feared the White House might try to restrict online speech, while consumer protection groups questioned if the president’s threats might deter Silicon Valley companies from policing their platforms as they sought to skirt allegations of political bias.
“This misguided effort by the White House raises serious constitutional questions and could hamper the ability of platforms to moderate their platforms and take down such content,” said John Bergmayer, senior counsel at Public Knowledge, a D.C.-based consumer group.
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