WASHINGTON — Add President Donald Trump’s re-election team to the growing list of critics of major edge providers, a list that includes cable operators and more than a few Democratic legislators.
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and the Republican National Committee are “demanding” that major social media platforms promise not to discriminate against conservative outlets online. That word came in a letter to the CEOs of Facebook and Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey, respectively, and Trump supporters were asked to sign as well.
“As the president’s campaign manager, I’ve written a letter demanding that the Silicon Valley social media elites stop their rampant liberal bias and stop trying to censor your voice,” Parscale said in an email from both the Trump campaign and the RNC, saying those “coastal elites” were trying to “silence and attack” Trump supporters. The letter sought information on what Facebook and Twitter were doing to prevent suppression of conservative speech.
Edge providers have been under scrutiny in Washington over a host of issues, including sex trafficking, breaches, insufficient privacy protections, Russian election meddling and a perceived liberal bias — a concern that Zuckerberg has told Congress is understandable.
Related: Reps. Square Off Over Online Censorship
RNC chair Ronna McDaniel told Fox News Channel that she and Parscale wanted to “get out ahead of” the issue of conservative censorship on social media, talk to Facebook and Twitter and ask them for transparency and to ensure everyone has a voice, particularly in advance of the midterm elections.
Parscale referenced the blocking of social media personalities Diamond and Silk, African-American Trump supporters who say Facebook was censoring their content because of their political speech. They testified at an April Hill hearing on perceived political bias. Zuckerberg said content reviewers erred and had reached out to the pair.
Parscale believes conservative voices not getting their message out is a “big problem.” The letter says that while they acknowledged Facebook and Twitter operate “in liberal corporate cultures,” the “rampant political bias” was “inappropriate.”
Parscale and the RNC are also worried about a Facebook voter registration effort. “We ask for transparency over how Facebook determines who sees these advertisements in their news feeds,” they wrote. “This is to make sure this new feature does not become essentially an in-kind contribution to liberal candidates.”
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