Dozens of pro-Trump online personalities convened in the stately East Room to discuss what they say is censorship on social media platforms, rubbing elbows with several members of Trump's cabinet and his White House team, and his son Donald Trump, Jr. In doing so, the president also sought to rally his widely followed online allies, whom he described as "journalists and influencers" that together can reach roughly half a billion people, entering the 2020 presidential election.
Another attendee of the White House's social media summit will be James O'Keefe, the founder and CEO of Project Veritas, a conservative news outlet whose hidden-camera videos are popular on YouTube.
"This has the appearance not of a social media summit but a political rally and call for the right", said Democratic Sen.
The White House has repeatedly declined to release a list people it expects to attend, but some of the recipients have turned to social media to boast about being invited.
Other eyebrow raising attendees include James O'Keefe, the guerrilla journalist whose group Project Veritas tried to trick reporters at the Washington Post by planting a source who told the paper that she had been impregnated as a teenager by failed Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore; Charlie Kirk, the founder of the right-wing student group Turning Point USA who sometimes posts misleading information on social media; and Benny Johnson, the journalist-turned-activist who was sacked for plagiarism by BuzzFeed and demoted at the Independent Journal Review for violating company standards. "We will not let them get away with it much longer", Trump said using the social media platform.
The White House made light of this at the summit, printing out a Trump tweet in which he commented on the error.
Trump and conservatives have been ramping up their criticism of big tech. Two of the people said Parler in particular isn't ready. These tech giants have been under pressure to address a litany of online ills, including the rise of disinformation, three years after Russian agents spread falsehoods on social media during the 2016 election.
Big Tech should not be silencing the voices of the American people. Free Speech is a bedrock of American life. President Trump mentioned - in a tweet, for sure - that the event might possibly maybe maybe maybe be specializing in "dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by sure corporations".
This prompted laughter from the audience, which included many prominent right-wing social media activists. Trump clearly believes there is a degree of political censorship on social media and not to his benefit.
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