The Trump administration is circulating an executive order to address the entirely fictional problem of anti-conservative bias in social media.
Keeping its focus on what really matters, the Trump White House is currently circulating drafts of an executive order that would address "anti-conservative bias" in social media.
The exact contents of the executive order are unclear, but it is definitely not going to be good. One unnamed official who Politico spoke to offered the conservative rationale for the move: "If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system."
Of course, there is no anti-conservative bias in social media. That's a right-wing trope that has been repeatedly debunked. Yes, certain conservative figures have been banned from leading social media platforms — but not for being conservative. They've been banned for unleashing racist mobs on other Twitter users and spreading dangerous conspiracy theories all over Facebook. That's not banning someone for their views, conservative or otherwise; it's banning them for their egregious behavior.
This proposal comes on the heels of Trump's absurd social media summit back in July. That summit was populated exclusively with right-wing cranks and grifters. Trump used the time to complain about his Twitter follower count, which still lags behind former President Obama by over 45 million.
Mercifully, it isn't likely that such an order would have many teeth. Politico reports that Republicans at two of the agencies that would usually be charged with enforcing this order — the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) — "have said publicly that they don’t see a role for their agencies in policing companies' online content."
Regardless of their reach, companies like Twitter and Facebook are just that: private companies. They're not branches of the government or any other sort of state actor, and policing their online content is absurd. It's awful tough to say you're the party of small government and demand that the government force private companies to say what you want, but that's precisely what Trump is proposing to do.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.