The White House is inviting all Americans to complain directly to the Trump administration about social media bans and suspensions that may be evidence of “political bias” with a new online tool launched Wednesday.
“The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online,” the official White House account tweeted Wednesday while unveiling the new reporting tool, which also asks people to sign up to receive Trump's email newsletters so they can stay up to date on his “fight for free speech.” “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 announcement calling on Americans to open up about their social media experience stops short of singling out Twitter or Facebook but appears to frame large tech companies as a public threat, warning that “too many Americans” have had their “accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies.” Those users are then encouraged to “share [their] story with President Trump.”
The website prompts users to fill out an information form that asks for their first and last name, zip code, phone number, and whether or not they are a U.S. citizen, also promising to keep those who provide their email address “posted on President Trump's fight for free speech” with newsletters. The form then asks for the users’ social media account username, what exactly happened to their account, whether a specific post was involved, and on which platform the “bias” took place. The website also permits users to attach screenshots to their forms.
Trump has repeatedly complained about what he describes as “censorship” of Republican and conservative voices on social media in recent months, but this appears to be the first time the White House has sought to build a case for his claims. He has specifically accused social media companies of unfairly treating figures like James Woods and Diamond & Silk in the past, and earlier this month came to the defense of conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson—who he described as a “conservative thinker”—after Facebook banned him and figures like Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos and far-right provocateur Laura Loomer. Trump declared at that time that he and the White House would be “monitoring and watching” the situation closely.
“Social Media & Fake News Media, together with their partner, the Democrat Party, have no idea the problems they are causing for themselves,” he tweeted earlier this month. “VERY UNFAIR!”
Earlier this year, Trump had a meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and other Twitter executives in the Oval Office. During the meeting, The Daily Beast was told that Trump complained about his dwindling amount of Twitter followers, alleging that the company was conducting anti-conservative purges. Dorsey had to explain to him that the company's periodic deletion of fake bot accounts were causing a drop in his following.