WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Monday that it is “very dangerous” for social media companies like Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Facebook Inc (FB.O) to silence voices on their services.
U.S. President Donald Trump answers a reporter’s question as eight different phones and recording devices placed on his desk by reporters and White House staff members record his words during an interview with Reuters in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 20, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis
Trump’s comments in an interview with Reuters come as the social media industry faces mounting scrutiny from Congress to police foreign propaganda.
Trump previously criticized the social media industry on Aug. 18, claiming without evidence in a series of tweets that unnamed companies were “totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices.” In the same post, Trump said “too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad.”
Those tweets followed actions taken by Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) YouTube and Facebook to remove some content posted by Infowars, a website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones’ own Twitter account was temporarily suspended on Aug. 15.
“I won’t mention names but when they take certain people off of Twitter or Facebook and they’re making that decision, that is really a dangerous thing because that could be you tomorrow,” said Trump.
Trump appeared on a show produced by Infowars, hosted by Jones, in December 2015 while campaigning for the White House.
Trump has made his Twitter account – with more than 53 million followers – an integral and controversial part of his presidency, using it to promote his agenda, announce policy and attack critics.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Jeff Mason; Writing by Christopher Bing; Editing by Lisa Shumaker