Donald Trump's "Social Media Summit" Was A Chance To Complain About Twitter With Company
President Donald Trump seems to spend a significant chunk of his time tweeting, but that did not stop him from deciding to host a "social media summit" at the White House to hear grievances against platforms such as Twitter. On Thursday, July 11, Trump brought right-wing social media commentators to Washington D.C., where they were expected to discuss the alleged bias that social media platforms have against conservative voices. In fact, Trump's "social media summit" seemed to be a chance for him to complain about Twitter and Facebook in the company of right-wing personalities.
"A big subject today at the White House Social Media Summit will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies," Trump wrote in a later-deleted tweet, per Politico. "We will not let them get away with it much longer."
According to The Daily Beast, numerous pro-Trump bloggers, YouTubers, and cartoonists posted their invitations to the summit on social media. One of them was Twitter user @CarpeDonktum, a self-described "memesmith" who creates memes in support of Trump. Another reported invitee was blogger Jim Hoft, the founder of a far-right news and opinion site called The Gateway Pundit — which, according to The Daily Beast, frequently publishes hoaxes and misleading information. Elite Daily reached out to Hoft for comment on his site's publications, but did not immediately hear back.
According to Media Matters for America, Hoft has organized multiple events in the past to discuss social media "discrimination" against conservatives, while Ali Alexander — another summit invitee who faced backlash after questioning California Sen. Kamala Harris' ethnicity — previously met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to raise concern over Twitter's alleged mistreatment of conservatives. Conservative organizations such as Prager University, Turning Point USA, and a Washington think tank called the Heritage Foundation were all expected to be in attendance as well, per the Associated Press.
But as CNN remarked, some of the invitees for today's summit have spread conspiracy theories, misinformation, and outright lies, while others have routinely pushed potentially dangerous right-wing ideas.
As CNN pointed out, however, the White House did not issue invitations to major platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Google, which would ostensibly help to discuss and resolve issues. Instead, the Trump administration appeared to have invited its allies to air their grievances about those platforms. In an emailed statement to Elite Daily, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere responded to an inquiry about the summit by describing a tool launched by the Trump administration earlier this year for people to report alleged social media bias.
“Earlier this year the White House launched a tool to allow Americans, regardless of their political views, to share how they have been affected by bias online," Deere said. "After receiving thousands of responses, the President wants to engage directly with these digital leaders in a discussion on the power of social media.” The White House did not directly respond to questions regarding a specific agenda, or how the administration intended to address grievances.
For years, conservative lawmakers and right-wing pundits have claimed that Silicon Valley giants such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter are attempting to censor them. Facebook, for one, has tried to remedy this perception by meeting with conservative advisers, despite such claims being disproven by its own data. Twitter, meanwhile, has consistently denied any allegations of bias, the BBC reported earlier this year. In an August 2018 statement, Google also denied all bias allegations, saying in a statement to Business Insider that the search engine does not "bias our results toward any political ideology."
Although all three networks have issued swift responses to allegations of anti-conservative bias, Trump has merely escalated these allegations since assuming the presidency. The president met with Dorsey in April 2019, and during their meeting, he told Dorsey he was concerned that Twitter had intentionally limited or removed some of his followers, though he did not offer any evidence of this.
Dorsey noted during that meeting that fluctuations in follower counts can typically be attributed to purges of bot and spam accounts. In fact, the day that Trump reported a significant drop in his follower account back in July 2018 was the same day Twitter announced that would be eliminating tens of millions of suspicious and fake accounts from follower counts, Vox reported. Nonetheless, Trump reiterated his complaints about his fluctuating Twitter follower account during the social media summit, CBS News reported.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment regarding what the Trump administration plans to do to address the grievances aired by the president and his summit invitees. However, Trump has made it clear since taking office that he will not let up on Silicon Valley tech giants — and he now appears to have a range of far-right commentators and bloggers to back him up.