President Donald Trump dinged big tech companies Thursday while praising various conservative figures who he believes are being unfairly discriminated against on social media platforms.
“Some of you are extraordinary. The crap you think of is unbelievable,” Trump said during a White House social media summit, which included conservative personalities like Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe and Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. The president also criticized Facebook for expressing “terrible bias.”
“Somebody said he’s controversial,” the president said of O’Keefe, who published several reports recently detailing what some conservatives believe is Google’s bias. “He’s truthful.” Trump has skewered Silicon Valley in the past, telling his Twitter followers in March that he is looking into accusations that Facebook is suppressing content.
Some of those who were invited believe Facebook, Google and other big tech companies should be broken up or more aggressively regulated.
“Big tech needs to be held accountable for their actions, and the general public needs to be aware of what’s going on,” Craig Strazzeri, chief marketing officer at PragerU, told reporters. He believes PragerU, a conservative group that produces videos on political issues, was invited to discuss its current lawsuits against Google.
Google allegedly suppressed PragerU’s videos about Islam and guns, making it more difficult for people to find the group’s content. Democrats and internet activists railed against Trump’s summit, calling the event nothing more than a political rally for his Twitter trolls.
“This has the appearance not of a social media summit but a political rally and call for the right,” Democratic Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia told reporters. He called it “absurd” that people like O’Keefe and other pundits, who get retweeted thousands of times, can be invited to the White House and complain about bias.
“This is largely, I think, a political event,” Michael Beckerman, the president of the Internet Association, a trade group representing Facebook, Google and other social media companies. There is “no conservative bias on our platforms,” he added.
Chris White on July 11, 2019