Following the crackdown against Alex Jones and various other pundits on Twitter and other social media outlets, on Saturday morning President Trump joined the big tech censorship debate, and accused social media of "totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices", claiming that the Trump administration "won't let that happen", and arguing that the platforms should allow both "good and bad" content online amid an escalating debate over social media’s growing censorship and role in policing content online.
"Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others," Trump tweeted.
Trump's tweet follows just hours after prominent anti-war activist Caitlin Johnstone became the latest voice to be temporarily suspended on Twitter without an explanation for what triggered the ban except to note that she violated our rules against abusive behavior":
Hello Caitlin Johnstone,
Your account, caitoz has been suspended for violating the Twitter Rules.
Violating our rules against abusive behavior.
You may not engage in the targeted harassment of someone, or incite other people to do so. We consider abusive behavior an attempt to harass, intimidate, or silence someone else’s voice.
Note that if you attempt to evade a permanent suspension by creating new accounts, we will suspend your new accounts. If you wish to appeal this suspension, please contact our support team.
It also follows growing allegations by Republicans that social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are biased against them, and GOP lawmakers have held multiple congressional hearings on the subject. The two platforms, along with Apple and Spotify, were recently scrutinized over the decision to suspend Alex Jones, a controversial right-wing host, over "hate speech."
After initially siding against censorship, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey defended the decision to suspend the accounts of Alex Jones and Infowars, saying that Jones was posting content that broke the platform's terms of service and needed a "pause" to reconsider his behavior.
Fast forward to today when Trump, who appeared on Jones' show in 2015, blasted "censorship" and added that he has not called for CNN and MSNBC to be “removed” despite their “fake news” broadcasts although one can imagine the media fallout from such a call. Trump frequently blasts content critical toward his administration as “fake news,” with CNN and NBC News his most frequent targets.
“Censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police,” he continued. “If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed. I get used to it and watch with a grain of salt, or don’t watch at all.”
Trump also suggested that the so-called "fact-checkers" and other people "making the choices" on limiting content online cannot be trusted. Trump's solution: "Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!"
Previously, Trump warned that his administration would “look into” alleged “shadowbanning” of conservatives on the platform, although there has yet to be any concrete steps taken in that regard even though Twitter has admitted that a new policy to suppress hate speech "unintentionally" reduced the search results for some Republican lawmakers.
In response, Facebook launched a review of policies possibly impacting conservative voices and other communities in May.