Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
US President Donald Trump speaks during a post-election press conference in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC on November 7, 2018.
President Trump said on Wednesday that he’s open to working across the aisle with Democrats to regulate social media.
In a lengthy press conference a day after the midterm elections that saw the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, Trump was asked if social media companies were unfairly censoring conservative voices and if he would work with the opposition party to rein in their power.
“Believe it or not, I’m really one that really likes free speech,” Trump told reporters. “A lot of people don’t understand that. When you start regulating, a lot of bad things can happen. But I would certainly talk to the Democrats if they want to do that. And I think they do want to do that.”
Congress has been debating potential regulations of Facebook, Twitter and Google since the 2016 election, when foreign governments attempted to influence the results through divisive posts on various social media platforms. Several tech executives, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey have testified as to how they’re handling the ongoing risks of election meddling.
Senator Mark Warner, D-Va., has proposed several options to regulate social media companies and stop the spread of disinformation, including enacting privacy regulations, similar to those being imposed in Europe.
However, Trump warned it would be a balancing act between protecting free speech and finding adequate legal boundaries for social media companies. The president has said that social media companies are biased against conservative users and voices.
“I think it’s a serious problem,” Trump said. “At the same time, you start getting into speech. It’s a very dangerous problem.”