Donald Trump alleges social media 'censorship' of conservatives

Trump stopping to speak to reporters in a file photo. PHOTO: WASHINGTON POST/JABIN BOTSFORD

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump on Saturday (Aug 18) accused social media platforms of "totally discriminating" against users with right-wing views while dubbing mainstream news outlets CNN and MSNBC "sick."

The President's comments come after several top social media platforms including Facebook and Spotify curbed or banned accounts of far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.

"Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices," Trump said in a series of morning tweets.

"Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won't let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others."

The President called censorship "a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police," adding that "if you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behaviour be removed."

"Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!"

Jones, whose site InfoWars has accused victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting of being "actors" in a plot to discredit the gun lobby, violated Facebook's hate speech policies, the social network said.

Facebook said the pages were taken down for "glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies."

Twitter - Trump's favoured medium, where he boasts some 53.8 million followers - meanwhile opted to allow Jones to keep using the platform but in a limited capacity, removing his ability to tweet for an unspecified period of time.

Some reports suggested his account was put in "read-only" mode for a week, meaning he cannot tweet or retweet.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, meanwhile, dismissed the idea that the platform discriminates against particular political viewpoints.

"Are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints? We are not. Period," he told CNN in an interview, set to air in full on Sunday.

"We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology. We look at behaviour."

He emphasised that Twitter must "constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is left, is more left-leaning."

"We need to remove all bias from how we act and our policies and our enforcement and our tools," Dorsey said.

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