An Insider's View Of The White House 'Social Media Summit'

Jul 12, 2019

President Trump held a social media summit at the White House this week, giving a major platform to conservative activists, including some conspiracy theorists, who claim their ideas are censored by social media platforms.

Major social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter were not invited to Thursday's event. Trump said he will be holding another meeting with the major social media companies in the coming weeks.

Speaking to conservative activists on Thursday, Trump pledged to "protect the free speech of all Americans" and ensure they are not "silenced." Conservative activist Joy Villa (@Joy_Villa), who attended the summit, says Trump made it clear he supports them. She says it's not just conservatives who are censored on social media.

"It’s liberals as well, it’s independents, it’s people who think outside the box. There is a clear and evident bias, and that’s why he joined us together," she tells Here & Now's Femi Oke. "He said, ‘Listen, you guys are getting more views than many mainstream media out there. Keep posting, keep promoting, keep speaking, and I’m going to have your back.’ "

Interview Highlights

On doxing, the spread of someone's private information on the internet against their will

"I don’t believe in doxing. I mean, it’s very dangerous. CNN has publicly doxed a young boy who was 15 years old who did a meme. There was a meme where there’s a cartoon of Trump punching out CNN and it’s very silly and the president shared it, and that went viral and CNN doxed him, told everybody his age.

"I would say there’s a different thing besides reporting and doxing. If the person is, they’re public, then you can say their name. But finding them out, finding out when [they] obviously don’t want to be public. You don’t have to investigate as a journalist when someone makes a cartoon. This is not a criminal thing. That would be investigative journalism. This other thing is just making a mountain out of a molehill."

On what she defines as "fake news"

"Fake news is having a clear bias and not saying, ‘This is an opinion piece. … Listen, I’m liberal and this is why I’m saying this, or I’m Republican, this is why I’m saying this.’ That’s a slant, that’s fake news, that’s fraudulent, and it’s unfair to viewers and listeners."

On her aim when she dresses up as the border wall or Planned Parenthood at events

"Well, it’s pretty obvious what I’m thinking. I support the wall. So what I’m doing is essentially protesting what everybody is saying is good, but we know when you do research, is not good. I believe in what I say, and I want to elicit a conversation. Not to troll, not to provoke, but you could say to provoke conversation. It’s OK to disagree, but don’t let me not say what I believe."

Jill Ryan produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Todd Mundt. Samantha Raphelson adapted it for the web.

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