Trump to speak to conservatives at social media summit

Tuesday, 16 Jul, 2019

Some of the right-wing media universe's biggest stars are set to descend on the White House Thursday for what has been billed as a "social media summit" and will likely become a forum for airing claims of anti-conservative social media bias.

On Thursday afternoon, the president gathered in the White House's East Room with some 200 "top professionals" in digital and social media, according to the administration. Most, if not all, have complained about the censorship of their hate-filled views.

"I will tell you, they make it very hard for people to join me on Twitter, and they make it very much harder for me to get out the message".

This comes at a time when the president, an enthusiastic user of social media - especially Twitter, which he often deploys to rally his base - has been criticizing the social media platforms, accusing them of silencing those who support him.

Daniel Castro, vice president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank focused on the tech sector, said the gathering "gives some of these more eccentric characters a veneer of legitimacy" which could dissuade online services from deactivating their accounts over inappropriate content.

Although the White House has not released the official list of participants, some prominent social media personalities have boasted about their invitations online.

Angelo Carusone, president of the media watchdog group Media Matters, believes in free speech, but he says some of the guests at the summit alarm him.

Eric Goldman, head of the High Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, said, Section 230 had made the modern internet, and user generated content, possible.

Donald Trump Jr. weighed in on the subject Wednesday, tweeting: "Twitter: We won't allow pro-life groups like @LiveAction to run ads on our "platform" & if you're a conservative we might ban you for 1st Amendment protected speech that we arbitrarily deem 'offensive'".

He offered no specific proposal but said he was directing his administration "to explore all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free speech of all Americans".

A growing number of lawmakers and some Democratic presidential candidates are talking about tighter regulation of a customarily freewheeling industry or even breaking up the big companies.

Representatives from Facebook, Google and Twitter were not invited. In a sign that the feud between conservatives and the tech world is heating up, neither of those companies was invited to the event.

During the summit, Trump repeatedly bragged about his large Twitter following. For instance, pro-trump figures like Laura Loomer, an anti-Muslim activist, Alex Jones, conspiracy theorist at InfoWars and Gavin McInnes, group founder of Proud Boys have not been invited.

"It is obvious to anyone with common sense I am not anti-Semitic", Garrison said in the statement.