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News Source: vanityfair.com
trump president event

Trump's "Social Media Summit" Is A Far-Right Troll Convention

President Donald Trump is holding an official event to air his grievances about social media—and the far right is invited to the party. A number of far-right internet personalities have reportedly been invited to the White House for a “Social Media Summit” on Thursday, which White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said will “bring together digital leaders for a robust conversation on the opportunities and challenges of today’s online environment.” Among the “digital leaders” present will be social media users who believe in the QAnon conspiracy theory, have shared anti-Semitic cartoons, and have created memes tweeted by Trump—while actual representatives from Facebook and Twitter have reportedly been shut out of the discussions.

The Washington Post reported that the Social Media Summit will also include prominent conservative-leaning organizations, including the Heritage Foundation, Media Research Center, and Turning Point USA. PragerU, a conservative organization that is currently suing Google for perceived “censorship” of its videos about Islam and guns, was also invited to attend. Given these organizations' combative stance toward social media companies, it's likely that Trump will use the gathering to continue his criticism of the tech giants and their supposed “censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS.” The president and his administration have been ramping up Trump's unsupported claims that social media companies actively silence conservative voices in recent months, publishing an online survey that asked users whether they felt they had been discriminated against online. The president then claimed in a recent Fox News interview that he felt Facebook, Google, and Twitter were “against me” and said the White House “should be suing Google and Facebook and all that,” adding, “perhaps we will.” (Social media companies have taken steps to curb hate speech perpetuated by members of the far right, including banning prominent internet personalities like Milo Yiannopoulos and Alex Jones, and are taking steps toward annotating particularly egregious Trump tweets, though critics believe the companies have not gone far enough. There is no evidence that Twitter silences conservatives as the president claims.)

How Trump's planned social media gathering shakes out still remains to be seen—but the president's critics are unsurprisingly not thrilled the event is taking place at all. “There is zero evidence that social media companies are biased against conservatives,” Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement. “In fact, the big tech companies have gone to amazing lengths to avoid confronting right-wing voices that advocate hate and racial division. This summit is a waste of taxpayer dollars intended to pressure tech companies ahead of the 2020 elections and score political points.”

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