White House launches tool for reporting social media ‘bias’

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The White House on Wednesday launched a tool that allows people to report possible “political bias” by social media companies, an issue that President Trump and top Republicans have hammered for months, accusing the largest tech platforms of censoring right-wing voices. 

The reporting tool prompts users to “share [their] story with President Trump” if they suspect they were removed or reported on social media because of “political bias.” 

{mosads}”SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH,” the website reads. “Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies.”

The form asks for the respondent’s first and last name, zip code, phone number, and whether they are a citizen. Once they fill out that information, the tool asks what happened to their social media account, whether a specific post was involved and on which platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube or “other”) it occurred. The tool also provides a space to attach screenshots.

“The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online,” the White House’s official account tweeted. “No matter your views, if you suspect political bias has caused you to be censored or silenced online, we want to hear about it!” 

Trump and a growing chorus of Republicans have accused companies such as Google, Twitter and Facebook of discriminating against conservatives online, raising concerns over instances in which posts from Republicans have been taken down or their accounts have been suspended.

Tech companies have pushed back against those allegations, pointing out that there is no public evidence outside of individual anecdotes to substantiate any political bias claims. 

All of the companies say they do not take political ideology into account when they enforce their policies. 

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) at a recent hearing conceded most of the evidence presented for bias claims is “anecdotal” but said he hopes more transparency from the tech companies will clear up the issue. 

Trump at a meeting with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last month reportedly raised concerns over the number of Twitter followers he has lost, claiming it stemmed from bias against Republicans. 

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