WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — On Thursday, the White House hosted a “Social Media Summit.”
The president invited fellow Republicans and conservative voices who accuse the major social media platforms of censorship. President Trump tweeted that participants will discuss “the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies.”
During the event President Trump said social media companies are targeting conservatives.
“I’ve had people who said they tried to follow me,” he said.
Robert Bluey with the Heritage Foundation attended the summit.
“I’ve had a colleague of mine temporarily suspended from Twitter and Twitter later on apologized to him,” Bluey said.
Noticeably absent from the event were representatives from Facebook and Twitter. The tech company giants admit banning some high profile personalities for what the companies call hate speech. Senator Josh Hawley said he believes social media is run by liberals who want to silence people like him.
“You and I know the social media companies would love to shut us down and shut us up,” Hawley said.
While supporters said the summit is a way to address concerns about free speech, some Democrats said it’s a gimmick.
“I don’t’ know anyone in D.C. who is taking this summit seriously,” said Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia).
However, Kaine said regulating tech companies is a serious concern. Lawmakers said they’re considering ways to increase transparency and protect consumers.
“To protect the privacy of their information to protect them from false information” said Kaine.
But Bluey believes users should be the ones to hold social media companies accountable.
“Whether you are a conservative or a liberal is to band together as a group and force changes at these companies,” he said.
The president and lawmakers say they’re committed to protect social media users and their First Amendment rights. President Trump said he plans to invite social media companies to the White House next month.