FTC head ignoring pressure from Trump to help out conservatives on social media: report
Donald Trump (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

According to Politico, President Donald Trump is leaning on the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help him investigate claims of "conservative bias" in tech companies.

"Trump’s efforts have included at least one meeting in recent months in the Oval Office with Republican FTC Chair Joseph Simons, in which the president said he wanted the agency to take action on social media companies’ alleged censorship of conservatives, according to a person familiar with the conversation. A second person confirmed that Trump and Simons met in the White House and discussed the executive order, but declined to describe the tone of the conversation," reported Leah Nylen, John Hendel, and Betsy Woodruff Swan. "Earlier this month, Simons told senators he didn’t plan to act on the president’s May 28 executive order on social media because he considers it outside the agency’s jurisdiction."

"Trump, who signed the order after Twitter began fact-checking his tweets, also stunned some GOP lawmakers this month by withdrawing the renomination of Michael O’Rielly, a Republican on the Federal Communications Commission who had expressed skepticism about Trump’s order on free-speech grounds," continued the report.

Republicans have broadly opposed efforts in recent years by social media companies to crack down on hate speech and harassment on their platforms, claiming that these efforts are in fact a targeted effort to silence conservatives. There is no basis to these claims, but a majority of Americans believe it might be going on.