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Have You Been Silenced on Social Media? The White House Wants To Hear From You

Gabriella Hoffman
by Gabriella Hoffman Read Profile arrow_right_alt

The White House announced a new tool to address censorship across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter. It’s hosted on Typeform.

When accessing the tool, here’s what first comes up:

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 asks 16 questions—many of which pertain to contact information.

Here’s what some of the questions look like this:

It also asks users to provide their social media handles, explainers on what happened to their accounts, if tweets/posts were directly impacted, and to supply documentation backing up their claims.

At the end of the survey, users are asked to confirm their identity by answering when the Declaration of Independence was signed and can opt-in/opt-out of follow-up messages from the White House should they choose.

The Verge noted all social media giants except Twitter didn’t provide comment on this announcement:

A Twitter spokesperson responded to the new tool saying, “We enforce the Twitter Rules impartially for all users, regardless of their background or political affiliation. We are constantly working to improve our systems and will continue to be transparent in our efforts.”

Last month, President Trump met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to discuss combatting censorship of conservatives on the platform. Just yesterday, Heritage Foundation’s Greg Scott was temporarily suspended from the platform for using a wrong gender pronoun. Last week, Google reversed blocking ad privileges for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation after Senator Steve Daines (R-MT) and Rep. Greg Gianforte (R-MT) sent a letter to the company’s CEO urging them to reverse course. Donald Trump, JR. noted the prevalence of shadow banning of conservative content on Instagram last year. VICE, which is no friend to conservatives, even concluded Twitter has a tendency to shadowban conservatives far more often than their leftist counterparts.

Conservatives are greatly divided over whether the government should regulate or break up entities like Facebook and Google. I’m certainly in this camp, and find myself deeply torn on the issue. We should be weary of government taking sweeping actions that could come back to bite us down the road.

As the rollout begins and inquiries to the White House come in, it’ll be interesting to see how many legitimate cases are documented and reversed. Some people will certainly abuse the feature, as expected. If the tool can offer some transparency and help deserving individuals regain access to their accounts, it should be welcomed. It shouldn’t take pressure from lawmakers, though, to apply their rules evenly—though efforts like this can help without government taking direct, consequential action. If the tool becomes weaponized, however, it stands to fail and not serve its purpose.

What are your thoughts on this new White House reporting tool?

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