White House Sets Up Echo Chamber For Complaints About Social Media Bias Against Conservatives
from the complainer-in-chief dept
After months of fact-free complaints about bias against conservatives on social media, the White House has finally decided to engage in a fact-finding mission. And by “fact-finding mission,” I mean “knock together a shitty webform to collect complaints.” Or build a mailing list for the 2020 election run. Who knows. But here it is in all of its “will this do” glory.
It opens with this statement before it starts harvesting personal info.
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.
From there, the form asks for first name, last name, citizenship, zip code, phone number (optional), and email address. If you’re not a US citizen or resident, the White House’s form says it can’t help you. That’s pretty weird considering this form does nothing more than harvest information, most of it personal. If non-US citizens want to share their personal information — and their stories of social media bias — with the administration, they should be able to. But that’s how the White House set this up: Americans only.
After that, it’s time to start detailing the bias. Pick a platform and start bitching. Start by giving the government the link to your social media account, describe the incident, and upload screenshots of the tweet/post removed for
You also have the option of being added to the White House’s newsletter email list. Then you have prove you’re not a robot by typing in the year the Declaration of Independence was signed. Fortunately for the bots, the question and answer never change, so not much a bulwark against exploitation.
Finally, you have to agree to the White House’s “user agreement,” conveniently located at another site and hidden behind a shortened link.
At the White House’s site, you’ll learn that complaining about bias via this webform gives the government permission to:
…use, edit, display, publish, broadcast, transmit, post, or otherwise distribute all or part of the Content (including edited, composite, or derivative works made therefrom).
The license you grant is irrevocable and valid in perpetuity, throughout the world, and in all forms of media.
And there’s nothing you can do if the government decides to alter your tweet and turn it into the centerpiece of its next Congressional hearing.
You waive any right to inspect or approve any Content or edited, composite or derivative works made from Content (including those which may contain your Information) before use. You are not entitled to any prior notice before the U.S. Government uses Content or Information. You are not entitled to any compensation for Content.
And even though the government has taken irrevocable possession of your content, it’s still your content where it matters most.
You solely bear all responsibility for all Content.
This isn’t about political bias. This is about confirmation bias. The White House has asked people to complain about being blocked or banned. Only those with negative experiences are invited to participate and that slant guarantees a bunch of unreliable narratives. Everything fed into this ad hoc complaint box will be vetted by an administration already convinced the social media deck is stacked against conservatives.
This will allow the administration to cherry-pick what it needs to back up the claims it’s been making for months and ignore everything else. It will give the President a stack of printed-out tweets to wave at social media company execs during the next closed door meeting. What it won’t produce is much reliable evidence of bias. The lack of reliability won’t matter to the administration or the man at the top.
The real question, though, is what the administration plans to do with this info. It seems the ultimate goal is to talk itself into believing the bias problem is bad enough the First Amendment and Section 230 immunity will need to be damaged to make it right.
But, for now, at least the government has given the public a platform to complain about beverage companies threatening to send their urine to journalists.
— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) May 15, 2019