Gathering critics of major online platforms at a White House "summit", President Donald Trump used the occasion to escalate attacks on Silicon Valley, hinting at new regulations on social media.
Trump invited conservative activists to the gathering, held on Thursday July 11th, who have been banned or curbed on social media to press his argument that big social networks are discriminating against conservatives, in spite of his own large online following.
"A big subject today at the White House Social Media Summit will be the tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination and suppression practiced by certain companies. We will not let them get away with it much longer," Trump tweeted.
The comments heightened concerns that the White House may seek to eliminate the legal framework that protects online services from liability over harmful content posted by others but hosted on their platforms.
Digital rights activists and others warned that removing the protection, codified as Section 230 of a 1996 law, could undermine free speech protections and harm the internet ecosystem.
"The government shouldn't require, or coerce, intermediaries to remove constitutionally protected speech that the government cannot prohibit directly," said a letter signed by 27 civic and digital rights organisations and 50 legal scholars.