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Trump critical of social media sites after Facebook bans

Associated Press
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AP
President Donald Trump speaks during a National Day of Prayer event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday, May 2, 2019, in Washington.

STERLING, Va. — President Trump criticized social media companies after Facebook banned a number of extremist figures, declaring he was “monitoring and watching, closely!!”

Trump, who tweeted and retweeted complaints Friday and Saturday, said he would “monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms.” He has previously asserted that social media companies exhibit bias against conservatives, something the companies have rejected as untrue.

The president’s comments came after Facebook last week banned Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones and other extremists, saying they violated its ban on “dangerous individuals.” The company also removed right-wing personalities Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, along with Jones’ site, Infowars, which often posts conspiracy theories. The latest bans apply to Facebook’s main service and to Instagram and extend to fan pages and other related accounts.

Facebook’s move signaled renewed effort by the social media giant to remove people and groups promoting objectionable material such as hate, racism and anti-Semitism. The company said it has “always banned” people or groups that proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence, regardless of political ideology.

On Twitter, Trump cited a number of individuals he said were being unfairly treated by social media companies, including Watson and actor James Woods. He insisted it was “getting worse and worse for Conservatives on social media!”

Woods, one of Hollywood’s most outspoken conservatives, has had his Twitter account locked. Twitter spokeswoman Katie Rosborough said Woods will need to delete a tweet that violated Twitter rules before he can be reinstated.

Rosborough said Twitter enforces its rules “impartially for all users, regardless of their background or political affiliation.”

Trump, who uses Twitter extensively to push his message, recently met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at the White House after attacking the company and complaining that it was not treating him well because he is a Republican. He later described it as a “great meeting.”

The president had more than social media on his mind Saturday. Trump also tweeted that he was holding out hopes for a deal with North Korea on its nuclear program, as well as improved relations with Russia, now that he feels the special counsel investigation is behind him.

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