- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 27, 2020

President Trump’s latest threat to regulate social media platforms to stop them from silencing conservatives drew mixed reactions from right-wing personalities banned from Twitter.

Roger Stone, Mr. Trump’s longtime confidant and former campaign adviser, told The Washington Times on Wednesday that he would like to see the president order the Department of Justice to take action against internet companies for allegedly discriminating against users based upon their political beliefs, adding that he believes those outlets should be regulated similar to public utilities such as telephone service and electricity.

“I hope the president directs the DOJ to take direct immediate antitrust action against Google, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other companies where the censorship of Trump-supporters, Republicans, conservatives and Libertarians — in fact anyone who is not a status quo liberal — is insidious, methodical and ruthless,” Stone told The Times in an email.

“Alternatively, these outlets must be regulated in the interest of the First Amendment just as we regulate utilities that are privately owned but serve the public,” said Stone, who was permanently suspended from Twitter in 2017.

Milo Yiannopoulos, a right-wing commentator banned from both Twitter and Facebook, indicated he was doubtful the Trump administration would do anything to rein in Silicon Valley, however, citing the president’s failure so far to fulfill his campaign promise of building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico.

“President Trump is a disloyal, dishonest twit. He has lied about the wall. There’s no wall. Just a few sections of mended fence. And he has lied about standing by his most ferocious supporters. We’ve been exterminated and he has no sincere plans to do anything about it,” Mr. Yiannopoulos told The Times.

“Trump has sat back and watched his 2016 support base get hunted down and immolated by Big Tech’s Orwellian ‘Trust and Safety’ teams. All his most popular, effective, idiosyncratic and fascinating cheerleaders have been wiped out, replaced by opportunistic, uninspiring, money-hungry Trump-hating careerists,” added Mr. Yiannopoulos, a former member of Breitbart News who was banned from Twitter and Facebook in 2016 and 2019, respectively.

Mr. Trump took aim at Twitter from his personal account on the platform late Tuesday after the company began to add fact-checking warning labels to his posts about alleged voter fraud.

“Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!” Mr. Trump tweeted Tuesday evening.

“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices,” Mr. Trump added Wednesday.”We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”

Mr. Trump singled out Twitter on the platform again Wednesday, tweeting: “Twitter has now shown that everything we have been saying about them (and their other compatriots) is correct. Big action to follow!”

Twitter declined to comment on Mr. Trump’s tweets.

Stone, 67, was punted from Twitter for violating its policies against harassment after his account mounted a hateful tirade against CNN anchor Don Lemon. Mr. Yiannopoulos, 35, was booted for “inciting or engaging in the targeted abuse or harassment of others” following a dispute on the service with “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones.

Both men previously said they would sue Twitter for banning them from the platform. Twitter confirmed to The Times on Wednesday that both remain suspended and cannot start new accounts.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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