President Donald Trump claimed in a Fox News interview that aired Monday that the social media platform Twitter has prevented some of his fans from following his account.
“[T]hey don’t treat me right,” he said to FNC host Tucker Carlson. “And I know for a fact, I mean, a lot of people try and follow me and it’s very hard. I have so many people coming up that they say, ‘Sir, it’s so hard. They make it hard to follow.’ What they’re doing is wrong and possibly illegal. And a lot of things are being looked at right now.”
The remarks were made during a wider discussion about the clear-cut liberal bias of social media companies and/or tech giants like Twitter, Facebook and Google.
Listen to the discussion below, via FNC’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight“:
This wasn’t the first time he’d spoken out against Twitter. During an interview last week on Fox Business Network, the president made the same accusations.
“I mean, what they did to me on Twitter is incredible,” he said to FBN’s Maria Bartiromo. “You know, I have millions and millions of followers, but I will tell you, they make it very hard for people to join me in Twitter, and they make it very much harder for me to get out the message.”
“What are we going to do? What am I going to do about it? These people are all Democrats. It’s totally biased toward Democrats. If I announced tomorrow I am going to become a nice liberal Democrat, I would pick up 5 times more followers. I was picking up, 100,000 followers every few days and all of a sudden — I am much hotter now than I was a number of months ago. But a number of months ago and then all of a sudden it stopped. And now I pick up a lot but I don’t pick up nearly what I did.”
The president has been raising concerns about Twitter since at least April, a month after the platform admitted that it does engage in shadow banning, i.e., the act of “blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned.”
“The best thing ever to happen to Twitter is Donald Trump.” @MariaBartiromo So true, but they don’t treat me well as a Republican. Very discriminatory, hard for people to sign on. Constantly taking people off list. Big complaints from many people. Different names-over 100 M…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019
Some in the media have responded to his accusations by describing them as “baseless” and noting that the president has no direct evidence to back these claims. They were only half-right.
While it’s true the president has provided no concrete evidence to substantiate his accusations, there does exist a trove of evidence showing that Twitter and its peers operate not as free and impartial public platforms but rather as left-wing forums that are moderated by their respective employees in the same manner that a liberal editor would moderate a liberal newspaper.
Moreover, preventing users from following the president would fit into the definition of shadow banning, an act that Twitter has admitted it partakes in.
In the FNC interview that aired Monday, host Tucker Carlson also brought up the fact that the people who run tech companies such as Twitter and Google “are against” the president and effectively plotting against his reelection. That’s true.
Also true is the fact that, according to research by well-respected psychologist, professor and journalist Dr. Robert Epstein, tech giants like Google have the power to drastically alter America’s elections.
“Google not only has the power to shift opinions and votes on a massive scale, but they exercise this power,” he said during a Fox News appearance last week. “This is what I measure in my research, so I can tell you fairly precisely how many votes they can shift. I can tell you fairly preciously precisely how many votes they shifted in 2019.”
“And if they all work together in 2020 to support the same presidential candidate — which is very likely — they can shift upwards of 15 million votes with no one knowing they’ve been manipulated, and without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace,” he added.
The discussion was prompted by newfound allegations that Google is a “highly biased political machine.” These allegations were reportedly made by a Google insider and whistleblower who spoke with the undercover investigative journalists at Project Veritas.
The insider’s core allegation was that Google purposefully manipulates what information its search engine trots out so that information that fits its ideological bent (anything from the establishment media) is emphasized, while information that belies its ideological bent (anything from conservative media) is de-emphasized.
What remains unclear is what the president plans to do about this.
Asked by Carlson whether this is illegal and whether the Department of Justice should investigate, Trump replied by saying it’s a possibility.
“Well, they could be, and I don’t want to even say whether or not they’re doing something, but I will tell you, there are a lot of people that want us to and there are a lot of people — all you have to do is pick up a newspaper and read it or see it or watch Fox or watch some other network,” he replied.
“There are a lot of people that want us to take action against Facebook and against Twitter and frankly, against Amazon. A lot of people want us to take action.”
“Are you going to?” Carlson then pressed.
“I can’t say that, Tucker,” the president replied. “That I can’t say.”
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