Jul 11, 2019

Inside the room: Trump says tech can't "self-correct"

Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump said Thursday he doesn't trust social media companies to "self-correct" their alleged conservative bias, according to multiple sources in the room.

Why it matters: It's another strong signal that Trump would support harsh regulations or antitrust action against social media companies.

Details:

  • One source recalled, paraphrasing from memory, that Ryan Fournier, the chairman of activist group Students for Trump, asked after the White House's live stream ended, "I know some conservatives have some issues with the idea of regulations. Do you think by doing what we’re doing and continuing to put pressure on these social media companies, that they will continue to self-correct?”
  • Trump replied that "I don't trust them to self-correct," according to the same source. A second source agreed with that recollection of Trump's comments, but a third source in the room recalled it as "No, I don’t think they can self-correct."

The big picture: Conservatives have increasingly been open to regulating tech companies, alleging they supress content produced by the right.

Yes, but: The charges that anti-conservative bias is programmed into social media algorithms have never been backed up by evidence or reporting, even if tech companies are staffed by liberal employees in famously blue Silicon Valley.

Go deeper

Tech companies say they're ready to fight white-nationalist terror

Photo: MSNBC

Tech companies are willing to work more closely with law enforcement to fight white nationalist terrorism, but the industry is skeptical of the White House's seriousness on the issue.

Why it matters: President Trump called on social media to do better monitoring in the wake of recent mass shootings, but the companies point out the White House still has yet to sign on to recommendations made in the wake of the Christchurch shooting.

Go deeperArrowAug 5, 2019

Big brands blasted on campaign trail

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic candidates are taking shots at big companies on the campaign trail, testing which messages resonate with voters and creating adversaries out of legacy companies that don't have much political wiggle room to fight back.

Why it matters: There's more pressure on companies to stand for social policies today than ever before. But unlike candidates, brands risk losing trust if they hit back too hard on certain issues, which is why they tend to respond more slowly. More progressive candidates are taking advantage of that dynamic this cycle.

Go deeperArrowJul 23, 2019

The antitrust vise tightens on tech

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Justice Department's announcement Tuesday that it will probe the market power of online platforms is the latest sign of deepening trouble in Washington for major tech companies.

Why it matters: Antitrust action is one of the most significant steps a government can take to rein in a company — and Justice's announcement is the kind that can kick off years-long probes.

Go deeperArrowJul 24, 2019