With the rumored exclusion of Twitter and Facebook from the upcoming social media summit in Washington, President Trump is facing significant criticism.
According to the press secretary, Judd Deere, Thursday’s summit aims to unite digital leaders over issues and opportunities in the industry. However, some are saying that the meeting will be unproductive. The opposition has claimed that it exposes some long-running problems of the administration.
Many news sources are claiming that the event is intended to criticize social media corporations. Specifically, their alleged “censorship” of conservatives.
The full guest list has not been published. However, there are speculations that the far right will dominate the gathering. Some extremist figures like Bill Mitchell (QAnon conspiracy believer), Carpe Donktum (right-wing meme creator), and Ben Garrison (pro-Trump cartoonist) have confirmed their attendance.
Those figures have expressed strong support for Trump. The president often shares their content on Twitter.
But they too have faced strong criticism from the media over some offensive materials. Some of those are the cartoons of Ben Garrison, which have been called “anti-semitic.” Right-wing social media personas are not uncommon in the White House though. Reportedly, figures like Carpe Donktum have already met with Trump in the Oval Office.
According to the Washington Post, other names on the guestlist are the Media Research Center, Turning Point USA, and the Heritage Foundation. Allegedly, another attendee is PragerU. This organization is known for starting a lawsuit against Google on the grounds of the company censoring their anti-Islamic and pro-gun videos.
The aggressive attitude of these organizations and individuals towards large social media corporations has led some to say that Thursday’s meeting will be extremely biased.
Some sources have expressed concern, claiming that Trump is using the summit as a means to wage war with social media giants.
In the past few years, Trump has increasingly criticized the largest companies such as Facebook for “silencing” and “censoring” conservative opinions. Social media giants have even been accused of discriminating against right-wing conservatives and Republican lawmakers.
In one interview with Fox News, the president targeted Google, Twitter, and Facebook. Trump said that those companies were against him. However, there is no direct evidence that those companies have tried to “silence” the president or other far-right members. In fact, with over 60 million followers, Trump’s Twitter profile is among the most popular on the entire platform.
The corporations did take some extensive steps to monitor and suppress hate speech from far-right members. Previously, figures such as Alex Jones (Infowars) and Milo Yiannopoulos were banned from Instagram and Facebook, and not without reason. Namely, they disobeyed the terms of the companies while promoting offensive hate speech violence through their channels.
The results of the social media summit have yet to reveal themselves. Nevertheless, critics are not optimistic about this event. Top Democrat Ron Wyden has claimed that tech companies are extremely dedicated towards eliminating hate speech and discrimination.