U.S. President Donald Trump makes a statement to reporters about reopening U.S. places of worship by declaring them “essential” in the midst of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

In the latest development in the fight between conservatives and tech companies, President Trump is considering a White House commission to oversee complaints of bias against conservative voices on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, have already denied any bias in their platforms. A Twitter spokesman told The Verge that the company applies “The Twitter Rules impartially for all users, regardless of their background or political affiliation.”

For years, Republicans have criticized social media companies for allegedly violating their First Amendment right to free speech. In a September 2018 Congressional hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, top executives were questioned about alleged bias against conservative voices. Last summer, President Trump held a ‘social media summit’ to discuss what he sees as bias in tech giants, and plans for the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission to provide direct oversight.

Tech companies have been protected from being held liable for content published on their site under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which both sides of the aisle have criticized for providing too much protection. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

Free Speech Platform Parler Won’t Censor ‘Plandemic’ Documentary Banned by Silicon Valley – Breitbart – 5/24/2020
“Twitter, Facebook and the other Technofascists believe they should decide for others. They label, ban and censor anything and everything as harmful misinformation if it is inconsistent with the narrative and the worldview they want to impose,” said Parler CEO John Matze said in a statement. “Parler will preserve content, asserts no authority and invites critical thinking. Parler leaves freedom of choice to the People to make up their own minds.”

Study: White Supremacist Groups Are ‘Thriving’ On Facebook, Despite Extremist Ban – HuffPost – 5/23/2020
The watchdog group Tech Transparency Project released a study Thursday that found more than 100 white supremacist groups had a presence on Facebook. TTP’s report raises an alarm about the function of so-called related pages on Facebook, which it said can push users into a white supremacist echo chamber. 

Doctors Are Tweeting About Coronavirus to Make Facts Go Viral – Wall Street Journal – 5/24/2020
Scientists are driven to participate on social media due to “sheer frustration with seeing the misinformation that is going out there,” said Karen James, an independent researcher with a Ph.D. in genetics and an expert in how scientists use social media.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

Donald J. Trump  on Twitter,  5/16/2020: The Radical Left is in total command & control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google. The Administration is working to remedy this illegal situation. Stay tuned, and send names & events. Thank you Michelle!

IBM Data and AI on Twitter, 5/24/2020: #AI can have unwanted bias. Read the ebook to understand the types of biases to watch for and how to effectively reduce them #MachineLearning

Benny on Twitter, 5/24/2020: President Trump might form a panel to review Social Media Bias. Why shouldn’t he? If Twitter can maliciously weaponize their vague rules to take out @ALX, it can happen to you. @charliekirk11 is right, what if Airlines started banning people for their views?…

Eric Goldman on Twitter, 5/24/2020: I know many well-meaning people who have championed government oversight of social media bias. Congratulations, you might get your wish. Oh, wait…did they naively assume the oversight would be less corrupt or censorial?

Jeff Jarvis on Twitter, 5/24/2020: When you decry the net and demand its current proprietors take down speech you don’t like, you play into his hands to the peril of freedom of expression Trump is weighing plans to create a panel to review complaints of anticonservative bias on social media

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