White House creates tool for people to report alleged social media bias

The White House on Wednesday launched a tool for people to report instances of perceived social media bias, signaling President Donald Trump's and top Republ...

Posted: May 16, 2019 8:54 AM

The White House on Wednesday launched a tool for people to report instances of perceived social media bias, signaling President Donald Trump's and top Republicans' plan to continue vilifying technology companies, which are currently seen as political villains by many in the conservative base.

"The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online," the White House tweeted Wednesday afternoon. "No matter your views, if you suspect political bias has caused you to be censored or silenced online, we want to hear about it!"

The White House's tweet directed people to a form which first asked users for personal information, such as their name and whether they are an American citizen.

After users entered the personal information, the form then asked them to describe the alleged bias that occurred, which platform it occurred on, and if they had screenshots of any messages they received from the company that took action.

Toward the end, the form also requested permission to add the user to an email newsletter so it could provide updates "without relying on platforms like Facebook and Twitter."

The move by the White House came on the same day it announced that the United States will not be joining the Christchurch Call for Action, an effort that encouraged technology companies to collaborate with governments to stymie the use of social media in acts of terrorism.

It also came just weeks after Facebook banned several high-profile extremists, prompting the President to rage against social media companies in a weekend Twitter tirade.

Trump and top Republicans have for years accused companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter of being biased against conservatives. But those attacks have ramped up in recent months as the social media companies have taken action to reduce toxic content on their platforms.

To support their claims, Trump and top Republicans have cherry-picked examples. Many of those examples have been misleading and not examples of bias or malfeasance by the tech companies.

In the past month, for instance, Trump and Republicans such as Sen. Ted Cruz have suggested Twitter banned right-wing actor James Woods for his political ideology.

A Twitter spokesperson, however, said Woods was never actually banned. In fact, the spokesperson said, Woods was only suspended after he tweeted the hashtag #HangThemAll, which violated the company's terms of service. The Twitter spokesperson said Woods' account would be unlocked after that particular tweet was removed. Woods has not tweeted since mid-April.

Trump himself has accused technology companies of bias against him. In April, he tweeted that Twitter is "very discriminatory" and does not "treat me well as a Republican." Later in the day, during an Oval Office meeting with Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey, Trump even raised the issue of the size of his Twitter following.

Claims of social media censorship have also made their way to Congress. Lawmakers have held various hearings over the past year on the so-called practice of "social media filtering."

At the hearings, Republicans such as Rep. Steve King of Iowa have cited articles from far-right media outlets such as the Gateway Pundit to accuse social media companies of bias against conservatives. At one hearing last year, the pro-Trump "Diamond & Silk" duo, who repeatedly spread misinformation about Facebook, was even invited to testify.

The narrative of social media bias is unlikely to go away anytime soon. Republicans and right-wing media outlets understand that the message resonates with and whips up the conservative base.

Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, told CNN last year that he anticipates the issue of alleged social media bias will be a campaign issue Republicans can use to their advantage.

"I think by the time 2020 comes along, this will be a burning issue," Bannon said at the time. "I think this will be one of the biggest domestic issues."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
Elkhart332051
Allen2815132
St. Joseph198168
Cass16399
Hamilton1596101
Hendricks1414100
Johnson1288117
Porter73637
Tippecanoe7279
Madison66364
Clark66044
Bartholomew58944
Howard58057
LaPorte57926
Vanderburgh5706
Kosciusko5564
Marshall4926
Noble48428
Jackson4723
LaGrange4719
Delaware45050
Boone44943
Hancock44935
Shelby43025
Floyd38244
Morgan32931
Monroe30128
Montgomery29720
Grant29526
Clinton2892
Dubois2836
Henry28016
White26510
Decatur25532
Lawrence24625
Vigo2368
Dearborn23323
Warrick22129
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1842
Jennings17612
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14717
Wayne1426
Orange13523
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1227
Jasper1212
Wabash1132
Carroll1102
Fayette1017
Newton9910
Whitley965
Starke933
Gibson872
Randolph804
Huntington782
Wells751
Jefferson722
Fulton711
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey440
Spencer411
Blackford392
Brown391
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland270
Martin230
Parke230
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 58904

Reported Deaths: 2970
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin10587431
Cuyahoga8048379
Hamilton6158204
Lucas2788303
Marion273439
Pickaway220141
Summit2175207
Montgomery213431
Mahoning1849238
Butler163747
Columbiana130660
Stark1133113
Lorain105167
Trumbull97473
Warren88124
Clark7729
Delaware58815
Fairfield58516
Tuscarawas56810
Belmont55422
Medina53632
Lake50819
Licking49612
Miami47231
Portage44959
Ashtabula43644
Wood43651
Clermont4226
Geauga40843
Wayne36352
Richland3475
Allen32341
Mercer2879
Greene2769
Darke25326
Erie24622
Holmes2393
Huron2232
Madison1999
Ottawa15024
Sandusky13714
Crawford1365
Washington13520
Ross1303
Putnam12915
Coshocton1272
Hardin12312
Morrow1171
Auglaize1074
Jefferson912
Monroe8917
Union891
Muskingum861
Hancock791
Hocking788
Preble781
Guernsey743
Lawrence720
Williams722
Shelby694
Clinton680
Logan641
Athens631
Fulton620
Ashland601
Carroll593
Wyandot595
Brown581
Knox521
Defiance513
Fayette460
Highland451
Scioto450
Champaign411
Van Wert380
Perry351
Seneca342
Henry300
Paulding260
Adams241
Jackson240
Pike240
Vinton222
Gallia181
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Noble110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 73°
Angola
68° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 68°
Huntington
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 73°
Decatur
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
Van Wert
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
Hot Wednesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events