Trump: Fake News Is Better Than Censorship

Charlotte Cuthbertson
By Charlotte Cuthbertson
August 24, 2018USshare
Trump: Fake News Is Better Than Censorship
President Donald Trump speaks at a Make America Great Again rally in Charleston, W. Va., on Aug. 21, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump is ramping up his criticism of social media companies, accusing them of silencing and and censoring users, especially conservatives.

“Social Media Giants are silencing millions of people,” the president wrote on Twitter on Aug. 24. “Can’t do this even if it means we must continue to hear Fake News like CNN, whose ratings have suffered gravely. People have to figure out what is real, and what is not, without censorship!”

An undercover video released by Project Veritas on Jan. 11 shows Twitter engineers discussing the “shadow banning” of Trump supporters and conservatives. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in a recent CNN interview that his own bias is “left-leaning.”

Shadowbanning is when a social media platform hides the content of someone’s posts from showing up on their followers’ timelines, without the user’s knowledge. One identified method was to remove the tweets of targeted accounts from search results, unless a default search filter was changed each time a user conducted a search.

The company has also restricted or banned some conservative accounts for posting “racist” content, but seems reticent to do the same to more liberal users, such as New York Times employee Sarah Jeong for posting hundreds of derogatory tweets about white people.

Trump, who uses Twitter prolifically, posted on July 26, “Twitter “SHADOW BANNING” prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.”

On July 27, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), whose Twitter account was affected, said he filed a complaint against the company with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

Gaetz is convinced Twitter targeted him intentionally.

“I am certain there were only four members of Congress who had their voices suppressed on Twitter,” he told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on July 27. “Matt Gaetz, Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, and Devin Nunes. That’d be one hell of a coincidence.”

On the same day, Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey said in a tweet, “We want a vibrant and healthy public conversation inclusive of all perspectives, and one that’s immediately relevant and valuable. We’re always listening to the conversation around this, and we commit to participating more fully in it. It’s important to us we get this right.”

But Twitter is not the only social media giant accused of censoring.

On Aug. 6, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Spotify all removed from their platforms a large part of the InfoWars media run by Alex Jones.

Jones, a longtime radio host, has faced frequent criticism for making controversial and unverified claims and for his hot-tempered outbursts.

Google shut down “The Alex Jones Channel” and several other InfoWars official channels around noon on Aug. 6, after Facebook removed four InfoWars pages. Apple removed five InfoWars podcasts from iTunes, and Spotify removed one podcast earlier that day.

All four companies cited “hate speech” as the reason for removing the content. Pinterest and LinkedIn have since removed Jones’s profiles.

On Aug. 16, Facebook severely penalized PragerU, a nonprofit organization that produces conservative educational videos, only to remove the penalties and apologize a day later, saying the sanctions were a mistake.

NTD Photo
President Donald Trump speaks at a Make America Great Again rally in Charleston, W. Va., on Aug. 21, 2018. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

During a rally in Charleston, West Virginia, on Aug. 21, Trump said his administration is “standing up to social media censorship,” but didn’t elaborate.

“I would rather have fake news, than have anybody—including liberals, socialists, anything—than have anybody stopped and censored,” he said. “But … you can’t have censorship. You can’t pick one person and say, ‘Well we don’t like what he’s been saying, he’s out.’

“So we’ll live with fake news. I mean, I hate to say it, but we have no choice. Because that’s by far the better alternative. … Because, you know what, it can turn around, it could be them next. We believe in the right of Americans to speak their minds.”

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