Breaking News Emails
On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump lashed out at Facebook, Google and Twitter, arguing that the three tech giants are censoring the views of conservatives and favoring Democrats.
“Facebook, Twitter and Google are so biased toward the Dems it is ridiculous!” he tweeted.
Trump took particular aim at Twitter, tweeting, “Twitter, in fact, has made it much more difficult for people to join @realDonaldTrump. They have removed many names & greatly slowed the level and speed of increase.”
The tweet is the latest from the president charging tech and social media giants with censoring Republican views in favor of liberal voices, a move conservatives call “shadow banning.”
In July, Trump wrote: “Twitter ‘Shadow Banning’ prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.”
Twitter has long insisted it does not intentionally limit the visibility of conservatives, noting that it does not make judgments based on political views or substance of tweets.
But conservatives have charged Twitter has prevented the names of some prominent Republicans from autopopulating in dropdown menus when their names were typed into searches.
In July, Twitter said it was aware that some accounts were not automatically populating and said it fixed the problem.
Facebook has additionally been accused by conservatives of having a left-leaning agenda, especially after Diamond and Silk — Trump-supporting online video personalities — had their page removed by Facebook earlier this year.
During his April appearance before Congress, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the removal of the page was an “enforcement error” and that the page was restored.
Any perceived political bias, Facebook and Twitter have maintained, stems from efforts to remove fake accounts.
Responding to criticism from Congress that they have not been doing enough to combat election meddling, Facebook and Twitter have been steadily working in recent months to purge accounts deemed fake or manned by bots. Numerous celebrities, including Trump, have seen a reduction in their followings due to the loss of false profiles.
During one purge in July, the president lost at least 300,000 followers. In October, Twitter announced it had removed at least nine million accounts as part of a months-long effort.
Despite the president’s tweet expressing concern with being stifled by Twitter, his Twitter following has increased since the start of October. Trump had 54.8 million followers on Oct. 1. On Tuesday morning, when he tweeted his outrage at Twitter, he had more than 56 million.
And despite the president accusing Facebook of bias, conservative publishers — notably conservative commentator Ben Shapiro and Fox News — dominate Facebook’s market for news content.
Trump’s tweets attacking tech giants come a day after a pair of reports were released by the Senate Intelligence Committee stating Russia's interference in the 2016 election was more widespread than previously thought and aimed at dividing Americans.
A Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement that the company was focused "on the health of the service, and that includes work to remove fake accounts to prevent malicious behavior."
"Many prominent accounts have seen follower counts drop, but the result is higher confidence that the followers they have are real, engaged people," the spokesperson added.
Facebook declined to comment.