Facebook and Twitter's censorship practices are "a dangerous thing," U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday. "That could be you tomorrow," the head of the state asserted during an interview with Reuters, refusing to list any specific names he was defending. His remarks came shortly after controversial show host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones saw some content from his platform Infowars removed from Facebook and Apple's iTunes due to policy violations. Jones, who hosted Trump in a late 2015 show prior to the primaries, recently publicly urged the U.S. President to fight the censorship practices targeting his content.
Social media giants previously dismissed any notion of Jones's content being removed for political reasons, stating its removal has been prompted solely by platform policy violations. Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg was previously said to have suspected Jones of intentionally seeking out a ban as part of a new publicity stunt. The world's largest social media platform came under fire from some stateside regulators during Zuckerberg's congressional hearings on the Cambridge Analytica scandal earlier this year, with a number of lawmakers alleging the company actively censors content supportive of conservative policies. Facebook repeatedly said its content removal practices never targeted individuals or entities based on political reasons.
The world's most popular social media services aren't legally required to protect freedom of speech in the U.S. given how they're not owned by the federal government. President Trump threatened Twitter over alleged Republican censorship last month, accusing the San Francisco-based firm of "discriminatory and illegal" practices. The allegation was never elaborated upon and nothing came of the investigation threat itself to date. Twitter remains an important part of President Trump's public presence as it's still his main vehicle for responding to criticism and attacking political opponents. Besides censorship accusations, social media juggernauts in the U.S. continue to fight pressure from law enforcement agencies over giving up user data and sensitive communications.