President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on technology companies today, saying they’re trying to “silence” people and suggesting that may somehow be illegal.
“I think it’s a very serious problem because they’re really trying to silence a very large part of this country, and those people don’t want to be silenced,” he said in remarks reported by Reuters. “It’s not right. It’s not fair. It may not be legal, but we’ll see. We want fairness.”
The comments continue a line of attack Trump launched earlier this week, when he accused Google of biasing its search results in favor of news outlets that have looked critically at his administration.
“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media,” Trump said on Twitter on Tuesday morning. “In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent.”
Conservatives have amped up their campaign against Silicon Valley companies since Apple, Facebook and Google’s YouTube removed right-wing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their platforms.
Jones appealed to Trump to make the tech industry censorship a campaign issue in the 2018 elections.
″If you come out before the midterms and make the censorship the big issue of them trying to steal the election. And if you make the fact we need an Internet Bill of Rights, and antitrust-busting on these companies, if they don’t back off right now,” Jones said, according to a Media Matters transcript of his remarks earlier this month.
The White House’s allegations of anti-conservative bias will likely be raised anew, as representatives of the largest internet companies appear at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing next week about efforts to prevent foreign meddling ahead of the midterm elections. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey are scheduled to testify.
Facebook is confronting similar criticism within its own ranks. A senior Facebook engineer posted a critique of the social network on an internal message board, claiming “we are a political monoculture that’s intolerant of different views,” the New York Times reported earlier today.
According to the NYT, that post led to the formation of an online group, FBers for Political Diversity, to promote ideological diversity within the company’s predominantly liberal workplace culture.