Today US President Donald Trump will be hosting his Social Media Summit, where, surrounded by a colourful company, he is expected to discuss the subject of censorship on the internet. Of the many right-wing pundits and Republicans that will be attending, the most notable marker of the event is the glaring absence of stockholders from major tech companies.
Social media giants’ like Google, Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook are not making an appearance. Of the four platforms, Facebook has confirmed it was not invited while the others declined to comment.
The meeting which has been called “more of a press conference than a summit,” is expected to host a discussion on the censorship of certain right-wing voices on social media platforms. Its critics have called the event a threat to “decency” that will help in “spreading bigotry.”
Trump has previously been critical of social media censorship. The president collected “thousands of responses” in a campaign to collect accounts of voices being silenced on social media. He has expressed worries that Twitter and Google were “against” him and suspicions that Twitter was reducing his followers.
Moreover, the event is situated the same week a US Appeals Court ruled that Trump’s decision to block several people from commenting on his Twitter was in violation of the First Amendment.
Among the invitees to his summit @CarpeDonktum who creates popular pro-Trump memes, independent journalist Tim Pool and Prager U—the conservative organization has taken Google to court for prohibiting their videos on guns and Islam from being viewed on restrictive mode.
In a tweet, Trump confirmed that “a big subject today … will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies.”
“We will not let them get away with it much longer.”
Trump’s Social Media Summit follows comments from many Senator’s that illustrate their openness to changing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, in an ostensible bid to rail in social media censorship.
“What’s happened is that [tech companies] have decided they don’t want to be neutral. They’re now admitting it, they’re not even pretending to be neutral,” Ted Cruz told The Blaze. “if they’re going to engage in viewpoint discrimination, then they don’t deserve any special immunity from liability that Congress has given them.”
As an article in The Federalist describes, attempts to modify Section 230 legislatively last month, have been criticized for their resemblance to previous attempts to enforce balanced coverage. Yet, Cruz maintains that “this is simply saying we’re not going to give you a special benefit” of immunity from liability “that no one else enjoys.”
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden maintained in a statement that “there is zero evidence that social media companies are biased against conservatives … In fact, the big tech companies have gone to amazing lengths to avoid confronting right-wing voices that advocate hate and racial division. This summit is a waste of taxpayer dollars intended to pressure tech companies ahead of the 2020 elections and score political points.”