President Donald Trump on Friday morning claimed in a tweet that social media corporations are “silencing thousands and thousands of individuals,” exacerbating a longstanding paranoia from conservatives who’ve for years erroneously accused social media corporations of bias and censorship.
Together with his tweet, and others earlier than it, Trump has signaled that he and his Republican allies would proceed to color tech giants like Fb and Twitter as villains in a longstanding tradition struggle used to excite the conservative base.
It was unclear what exactly the President’s Friday tweet was referencing, nevertheless it got here simply weeks after Fb, YouTube, and Apple eliminated content material from far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his fringe media group InfoWars from their platforms. The tech platforms mentioned they eliminated Jones’ content material for violations of their hate speech and harassment pointers. They’ve maintained that they don’t discriminate in opposition to customers for his or her political opinions.
However the nuance has been misplaced on Trump, Republican leaders, and members of the conservative media.
Republicans and right-wing media shops have been all too completely happy operating with the narrative that social media corporations are censoring conservatives, the details be damned. Fox Information, the Drudge Report, Breitbart, and different shops have amplified claims that conservatives are beneath fireplace and that their freedom of expression is beneath risk on Twitter, Fb, and different social media platforms. Along with the president, Home Majority Chief Kevin McCarthy, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump Jr. have been amongst a number of the Republicans to advertise this narrative.
Trump’s Friday morning tweet was the most recent salvo in a long-running theme pushed by Republicans and conservatives. For years, the conservative media machine has pushed the flimsy narrative that conservatives are unfairly handled by social media corporations, which they accuse of bias and censorship. When the claims typically disintegrate beneath a lightweight contact of scrutiny, right-wing media shops proceed to advance the narrative, no matter the details.
Take, for instance, what occurred earlier this 12 months with pro-Trump social media personalities “Dimond & Silk” who accused Fb of censoring their web page. The duo had acquired a message from Fb saying their content material was “unsafe for the group.” The social media large then mentioned the message was an error and shortly tried to contact them concerning the mistake. Fb’s backtracking however, “Diamond & Silk” remained defiant, repeatedly claiming the corporate had censored them. Regardless of their claims having been debunked by CNN and different media organizations, Fox Information and different conservative media shops ran with it, serving to the duo mislead thousands and thousands.
Not too long ago, claims of social media bias and censorship have made their technique to Congress. Lawmakers have held two hearings this 12 months on the so-called follow of “social media filtering.”
On the first listening to earlier this 12 months, “Diamond & Silk” have been invited to testify. Republicans like Steve King of Iowa cited articles from type right-wing shops just like the Gateway Pundit to accuse social media corporations of bias in opposition to conservatives.
Simply final month, the Home Judiciary Committee held a second listening to on the matter. The identical episode repeated itself, with Republican lawmakers asking tech executives about so-called bias in opposition to conservative customers.
The narrative is unlikely to go away anytime quickly. The politicians and media shops on the appropriate that push it don’t appear moved by the details. As a substitute, they appear extra fascinated about a story that resonates with and whips up the conservative base, which is comprised by a swath of the nation that feels they’re beneath assault within the nice American tradition struggle.
CNNMoney (New York) First printed August 24, 2018: 2:44 PM ET