According to information obtained by Bloomberg, The White House is reportedly making a draft executive order against online platform bias in Social Media firms. Per this draft, federal antitrust and law enforcement agencies are instructed to investigate into the practices of Google, Facebook, and other social media companies.
The existence of the draft was first reported by Capital Forum.
Federal law enforcers are required to investigate primarily against two violations. First, if an online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws. Second, to remove anti-competitive spirit among online platforms and address online platform bias.
Per the sources by Capital Forum, the draft is written in two parts. The first part is a policy statement stating that online platforms are central to the flow of information and commerce and need to be held accountable through competition.
The second part instructs agencies to investigate bias and anticompetitive conduct in online platforms where they have the authority. In case of lack of authorization, they are required to report concerns or issues to the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice.
No online platforms are mentioned by name in the draft. It’s unclear when or if the White House will decide to issue the order.
Donald Trump and the White House have always been vocal about the prevalent bias in Social media platforms. In August, Trump tweeted about Social Media discriminating against Republican and Conservative voices.
He also went on to claim that Google search results for “Trump News” reports fake news. He accused the search engines’ algorithms of being rigged. However, that allegation having not been backed by evidence, let Google slam Trump’s accusations, asserting that its search engine algorithms do not favor any political ideology.
Earlier this month, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey faced the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, to discuss foreign interference through social media platforms in US elections. Google, Facebook, and Twitter also released a Testimony ahead of appearing before the committee.
As reported by the Wall Street Journal, Google CEO Sundar Pichai also plans to meet privately with top Republican lawmakers this Friday to discuss a variety of topics, including the company’s alleged political bias in search results. This meeting is organized by the House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy.
Pichai said on Tuesday that “I look forward to meeting with members on both sides of the aisle, answering a wide range of questions, and explaining our approach.”
Google is also facing public scrutiny over a report that it intends to launch a censored search engine in China. Google’s custom search engine would link Chinese users’ search queries to their personal phone numbers, thus making it easier for the government to track their searches. About a thousand Google employees frustrated with a series of controversies involving Google have signed a letter to demand transparency on building the alleged search engine.