United States

White House vs Big Tech: Eager to Censor Trump, Reluctant When It Comes to Chinese Disinformation

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday slammed big tech bias after Twitter attached a “fact-check” warning on two of President Trump’s tweets.

The President, on Tuesday, posted on Twitter warning about the dangers of mail-in ballots, saying:

“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone…..

“….living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!”

Soon after Twitter marked the President’s tweets with a tag that read: “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.”

President Trump then blasted Twitter’s actions, accusing the platform of interfering with the 2020 election.

“Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post…..

“… Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”

McEnany called out the platform’s bias during a press briefing on Thursday, accusing big tech companies of being quick to censor the President, but reluctant when it comes to halting the spread of Chinese disinformation campaigns.

“Dan Scavino, the deputy chief of staff here, was the first user in the history of Twitter to receive a so-called ‘manipulated media’ label for posting a video that played a verbatim clip,” McEnany said. “It is no coincidence that these two unbelievable interventions by Twitter were targetted against the President of the United States and one of the President’s top advisors.

“This is bias in action. While big-tech is quick to censor the president, quick to censor some of his top employees, they are very reluctant, it seems, to label some of the actions by Chinese officials, some of the misinformation that has been spread by China. For example, to move off of Twitter and move to Google they created a search engine for the Chinese Communist Party which blacklisted searches for human rights and allowed for easy surveillance.

McEnany continued: “Facebook and Twitter have both taken paid advertising that spread disinformation about China’s mass imprisonment of religious minorities and Twitter has allowed Chinese officials to use its platforms to spread misinformation about the coronavirus, undermine the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong and more.

“And then back in March, a Chinese official began spreading a conspiracy theory on Twitter, an egregious one that our US military was responsible for the spread of the coronavirus and that tweet, that disinformation — it took all the way until today when we raised concerns about it — to get a fact check. So, they appeared to be very hastily eager to censor President Trump and some of his employees but a little reluctant when it comes to China. It’s a bit befuddling.

“No one believes in the First Amendment more than the president. The president will take action to ensure big tech does not stifle free speech and that the right of all Americans to speak, tweet, and post are protected,” she added.

The President signed an executive order on Thursday aimed at addressing censorship and political bias from big tech companies.

Speaking from the Oval Office ahead of signing the order, Trump said the move was to “defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history.”

“A small handful of social media monopolies controls a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States,” the President said. “They’ve had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences.”

A break down of the order can be viewed here.

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