Trump's attempt to get stories of 'political bias' in social media looks really suspicious

Trump's attempt to get stories of 'political bias' in social media looks really suspicious
Fox News
The Right Wing

It hurts Donald Trump’s feelings that his numbers on Twitter are a fraction of President Barack Obama’s. It hurts his feelings a lot. So much that Trump, despite counting on Twitter as his primary communication platform since well before he started his campaign, has joined in the alt-Reich war against the site—and other social media sites—based on the idea that Twitter picks on conservatives.

In support of this conspiracy theory, Trump has defended holocaust deniers, white supremacists, and everything else that falls under the category of ... er, very fine people. But retweeting all those Nazis is just soaking up too much executive time. So now Trump has decided to outsource.

On Wednesday, the White House launched a tool encouraging ego-bruised snowflakes to take their whines right to the top, reporting on any instance in which they believe “political bias” caused them to lose the platform from which they were reporting how immigrants, Muslims, and women were forcing them to be incels. That tool has “White House” in its name, but it is very much not.

The White House has been putting this forward as a way to “defend free speech,” but as reason points out, the purpose behind this is to restrict speech by allowing Trump to have more control over social media. The goal—which was made clear by Missouri Republican Josh Hawley, who is making a serious move to out-extreme every other Republican—is to rewrite FCC regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The effect of that would be to make service providers responsible or everything said using their service, which would in turn result in application of heavy censorship, or an outright shutdown, of most sites. And the rule change would have a cascade effort, making it nearly impossible to have anything on the internet that invites conversation. Republicans are trying to convince Americans that it’s a violation of the First Amendment for a private company to make rules about speech on its site … so they’ll have an excuse to use government to set those rules. And genuinely control who is allowed to speak.

And to make this very odd thing even odder, the Trump White House has chosen to host this tool not on a .gov site, but on, which is a Spanish company. And anyone seeking to turn in a story has to provide a whole array of personal data. Because nothing says legitimate like Donald Trump asking you to provide contact information to a form site hosted in Barcelona.

A rewrite of rules as suggested by Hawley during a rant about the “anti-conservative bias” of “big tech,” wouldn’t just force sites like Facebook or Twitter to either shutter or implement draconian censorship, it would affect every aspect of the Internet. In fact, it would essentially end the Internet as a public space.

Other conservatives have argued that meddling with section 230 would lead directly to censorship that, in the short term at least, would be less friendly to the kind of racist, violent, hate speech that Trump is calling to “protect.” They’ve also pointed out that what Hawley is proposing seems like a direct violation of the First Amendment. But Hawley argues that shielding sites and service providers from content posted by users is a “gift” the government can take away.

None of this actually makes any sense in terms of creating an environment that protects free speech. But it’s a fine system for creating the means to bludgeon social media sites into notstepping in to block hate speech and threats. And as for the stories that are getting turned in on Trump’s snowflake magnet tool, it’s clear that there will be no effort to actually vet the truthfulness of the stories … so be prepared for a season of very fine whines.

And if this data ends up in Trump’s campaign database on the side, well, hey … it’s not like it was an official government website!

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