Today is the White House social media summit. Spoiler alert: Facebook isn’t invited. Neither is Twitter, nor YouTube. Instead, the gathering in Washington this week will bring together conservative media outlets and Donald Trump supporters who accuse Big Tech of anti-conservative bias despite a lack of evidence supporting their claims.
- Who will actually be there: The leaders of several conservative groups, like Turning Point USA, YourVoice Inc, right-wing YouTube channel Prager University, conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, and a right-wing meme maker known as Carpe Donktum have all confirmed they are attending Thursday’s meeting.
What’s it’s really about: Trump has suggested the government might sue social media companies over accusations of political bias, but he hasn’t taken concrete action so far. In May, Recode reported on a tool the White House launched for people to flag claims of social media censorship — but the tool is essentially a ploy to gather voter data. According to the Journal, today’s summit “is a way to rally Trump’s base” and will offer a “preview of a likely theme in Mr. Trump’s reelection campaign.”
[Ryan Tracy / The Wall Street Journal]
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Something else to watch for in Washington: Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are heading to Capitol Hill to testify before the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee on July 16. Representatives from Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google — no CEOs are expected to show up — will face both Democratic and Republican lawmakers who “have found rare alignment in criticizing big tech.” The Post writes that the meeting could set the “stage for further scrutiny — or regulation — of an industry that has long insisted that its size doesn’t harm rivals or consumers.”
- Meanwhile: Reports indicate Amazon and Google are subjects of potential FTC and DOJ antitrust investigations. Last month, Recode identified three possible lines of questioning Amazon may face from the FTC.
Fun fact: It just so happens that July 16 coincides with Amazon’s annual Prime Day.
[Tony Romm / The Washington Post]
4chan is 40 percent more hateful than it was in 2015, according to a Vice analysis. Vice took a deep dive into 1 million messages appearing on the “politically incorrect” internet forum and found that since 2015, “slurs against racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual or gender minorities have increased,” along with neo-Nazi propaganda.
- The background: Extremists flock to forums like 4chan to share ideas and spread their ideologies. The Christchurch, New Zealand, shooter spent time on 4chan, as well as 8chan, where he was encouraged to carry out his attack.
The big picture: Vice’s findings “raise questions about free speech, terrorism, and the policing of online extremism.” Mainstream platforms may be cracking down on extremism on their platforms, but it’s not going away — it’s just finding a new home.
[Rob Arthur / Vice News]
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