President Trump used what the White House dubbed a “social media summit” Thursday afternoon with conservative guests to complain that he’s lost, or failed to gain, Twitter followers. Representatives from tech giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter were not invited to the event.

Mr. Trump launched into an airing of grievances against social media companies like Twitter, complaining that his Twitter followers fluctuate. Mr. Trump complained that he isn’t attracting followers as quickly as he once did, and sometimes loses followers. Twitter occasionally carries out purges of fake accounts, and former President Barack Obama has also lost followers in such purges. The president also claimed Americans come up to him and claim social media sites block them from following him. 

The president said he’s directing his administration to search for any regulatory or legislative action it can take to avoid censorship. He also said he’s inviting representatives from the major tech companies to come to the White House over the next few weeks. 

The president invited others on stage to air grievances against social media companies, including Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican who has called for stricter regulations of tech companies to avoid censorship. Among the guests were Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk, conservative figures Diamond and Silk, pundit Ben Shapiro, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe and other outspoken hardline conservative icons. 

Mr. Trump praised the way the social media personalities before him have the ability to break through traditional news outlets. Mr. Trump said the hatred of the Republican Party and their voices is the “collusion between the Democrats and the media.” 

Twitter had an outage shortly before the president’s event, but was functioning by the time Mr. Trump began speaking. 

It’s unclear if the president intends to impose stricter regulations on tech companies, but a handful of Republicans have called for more government intervention to make sure social media companies don’t censor speech — a shift from past Republican stances against further government intervention in companies. 

Traditional social media sites left out of summit at White House

After he addresses the social media conference, the president will hold a press conference on the citizenship question and the census. As CBS News has reported, the president will announce he’s taking an executive action related to the citizenship question and the 2020 census. 

Sara Cook contributed to this report.


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