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Trump complains of social media censorship of conservative voices

President Donald Trump speaks in Utica on Monday.

President Donald Trump speaks in Utica on Monday. Credit: AP / Carolyn Kaster

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump complained on Twitter Saturday that social media companies are censoring Republicans and conservatives -- and he said his administration “won’t let that happen.”

In his string of tweets, Trump did not identify the social media platforms or the Republican and conservative voices being affected after Facebook, Apple and other major media companies began taking down or restricting some accounts this month.

Nor did he say what he would or could do to stop it.

“Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen,” Trump tweeted.

But Trump did offer his solution: “Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!”

That view runs counter to the position taken by several lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who have pressured social media to remove accounts that aim to sow division or to disrupt the midterms after the Russian use of social media to interfere in the 2016 election. 

Trump’s tweets also come after Apple, Facebook and Google this month took steps to remove content from the Infowars site of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, best known for being sued by parents of children slain at the Sandy Hook school for calling the massacre a hoax.

Twitter on Wednesday suspended Jones for a week.

After facing restrictions or being banned, Jones earlier this month in a video issued a plea to Trump to stop the social media companies and urged him to “come out before the midterms and make the censorship the big issue” for the campaigns.

“Censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police,” Trump said in one tweet. In another, he said, “Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad, and that cannot be allowed to happen. Who is making the choices, because I can already tell you that too many mistakes are being made.”

Trump also said, “If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed. I get used to it and watch with a grain of salt, or don’t watch at all.”

In July, Trump criticized Twitter for subjecting Republicans and conservatives to a practice known as “shadowbanning” – which restricts the reach of their tweets on the platform. Twitter denied doing that and said it does not base its blocking of accounts on politics.

“We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoints or ideology. We look at behavior,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told CNN in a clip of an interview shown Saturday.

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