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Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.

Trump has repeatedly whined that he and his fellow conservative Republicans are at a disadvantage online — not because their bad decisions have made them unpopular online, but because they claim social media companies and search engines are somehow biased against the political right.

Now Trump’s complaining has entered an ominous new phase: a draft White House executive order that could target tech companies who don’t make Trump and conservatives look good.

Bloomberg and Business Insider report that the draft order, which is not yet finalized, is intended to “address online platform bias.”

The draft text directs U.S. government executive branch agencies to “ensure that no online platform exercises market power in a way that harms consumers, including through the exercise of bias.”

If signed in its current form, the order would waste government time and resources to examine whether the alleged political “bias” of platforms like Google, Twitter, and Facebook violates antitrust laws.

The draft order would also have government agencies submit a list of recommended actions to the Director of the National Economic Council to remedy the supposed problem.

Trump’s delusion about social media bias against him and other conservatives is completely unsupported by facts or evidence. Yet he has already forced the Department of Justice to investigate, at taxpayer expense, why conservatives aren’t more popular on Twitter.

Trump hasn’t yet signed the draft order. But this administration has a long track record of letting Trump sign meaningless or harmful executive orders that address his pet causes. These are often accompanied by a White House signing ceremony to appease Trump’s ego.

If Trump looks bad on social media and in search results, it’s not because of biased online companies — it’s because Trump is a very unpopular president who says and does very unpopular things just about every day.

Trump has never had an approval rating above 50 percent, and social networks like Twitter and Facebook generally tend to reflect such popular sentiments.

An executive order won’t do anything to remedy Trump’s “problems” in that regard. But the draft order’s existence shows once again that Trump’s closest advisers are far too willing to validate his delusions.

Published with permission of The American Independent.