Think tank attending Trump's social media summit calls on conservatives to fight liberal bias

The Heritage Foundation wants all conservatives to present a united front when it comes to what it believes is the confusing and capricious treatment of right-leaning views by social media companies.

“There are numerous examples, and I think that’s going to be on full display” at a White House gathering on Thursday that President Donald Trump is billing as a “social media summit,” Rob Bluey told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” ahead of the event.

Bluey, executive editor of “The Daily Signal” multimedia news organization at Heritage, said, “Conservatives should band together and point out where they have seen suppression and bias against them.”

Despite those views on social media companies, “I don’t think the government should be in the business of regulating them or trying to break them up or legislate on them,” Bluey said. “These are private companies.”

The Heritage Foundation is among the conservative groups and individual online supporters set to attend.

In a Thursday morning tweetstorm, the president said the meeting will address what he calls “tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies.”

Critics are calling the summit nothing more than a campaign event because none of the social media companies will be there. Twitter, which the president uses daily, won’t be attending; neither will Facebook.

Bluey said social media companies need to do a better job of communicating their guidelines and terms of service to their users. “I think that’s been unclear.”

“We’ve experienced our own examples at the Heritage Foundation and the ‘Daily Signal’ where content has been pulled off of these platforms and later restored,” said Bluey, claiming that conservatives are “oftentimes on the losing end” of confusing rules.

In hearings on Capitol Hill in April 2018, Republican lawmakers blasted Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, accusing the platform of having a liberal bias against and for censoring conservative Facebook pages.

Social media companies are trying to navigate when they should step in and remove posts or bar users for political commentary that goes over the line. But who draws that line is at the heart of the debate.

CNBC’s before the bell news roundup


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