White House Launches Tool To Combat Social Media Free Speech Violations
Conservative censorship and shadow-banning on social platforms are nothing new these days; however, the White House is acting. The White House launched a tool that could be used by people wrongly censored, banned or suspended by social platforms.
“Too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies,” the site reads. “No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump.”
Over the past few months, Republicans have taken aim at social media networks, citing claims that conservatives have been wrongly censored on these platforms. Some committees, like House Energy and Commerce and Senate Judiciary, have even held hearings on the issue where lawmakers questioned officials from companies like Facebook and Twitter over the alleged bias.
The tool, which is hosted on Typeform, asks users for screenshots and links of the offending content, and provides a text field where users can describe the enforcement actions taken against them. The user is also asked to choose between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube or “other” as the platform where the offense took place. Facebook and Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The tool also collects significant personal information from the user, and near the end invites users to opt into email newsletters from President Trump, “so we can update you without relying on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.” A separate question points users to an extensive user agreement, and makes clear that “you understand this form is for information gathering only.”
A later question asks the user what year the Declaration of Independence was signed “just to confirm you aren’t a robot.” This is an unorthodox anti-scripting technique, and a generally ineffective one, given the relative simplicity of automatically entering a number.
Tech giants in Silicon Valley have made it clear that they are generally left-leaning, but banning, censoring, and suspending accounts that lean to the right has gone too far. We applaud the administration’s effort in cracking down on viewpoint discrimination and bringing a balance to these widely used social platforms.