- Hours after 18 nations signed a pledge to fight online terrorism through content moderation, the White House released a form encouraging people to report instances in which their content or accounts were removed from social-media platforms.
- The form, called the “Tech Bias Story Sharing Tool,” asks for links and citizenship status before asking for an email address to be added to the Trump campaign marketing list.
- The White House frames tech content moderation as a free-speech issue, though many of the most high-profile account suspensions include violations of user policies regarding violent and hateful content.
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The White House wants to know if you’ve ever been censored on social media.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration launched an online form asking people to submit examples of being blocked on Facebook, Twitter, and other services because of “political bias.”
The form, called the “Tech Bias Story Sharing Tool,” asks people to submit stories and evidence, including links and screenshots, of cases in which their content or accounts were removed from Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or Twitter.
“SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH. Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies. No matter your views, if you suspect political bias caused such an action to be taken against you, share your story with President Trump,” the form reads.
The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 15, 2019
The form asks for details such as whether the person is a US citizen, their zip code, and an email address for Trump campaign marketing outreach.
The notion that conservative viewpoints have been suppressed on social media has become a popular cause among Republican politicians and activists. In September, former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions convened a meeting with several state attorneys general to discuss whether social-media companies were intentionally stifling free speech and competition.
At the same time, there has been a growing call for stricter moderation across social-networking sites, where harassing hate speech and calls for violence often slide under the radar.
Facebook banned several far-right and conspiracy-theory accounts in early May, including those of Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos.
On Wednesday, the US was notably absent from the Christchurch Call, an accord signed by 18 countries and led by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and French President Emmanuel Macron. The accord is a sweeping agreement to fight online terrorism.
The name references the mass shootings at mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and a neighboring suburb that killed 51 people. Videos of the shootings were streamed and spread across social media.
Here is what the form looks like:
- The White House