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Outspoken conservative commentator Milo Yiannopolous crashed a White House press briefing and asked John Earnest about free speech online.
He accused social media companies of censoring “conservative and libertarian points of view” and asked if there was anything President Obama could do to “remind” social media corporations of their responsibility to allow free speech.
“Obviously, part of what’s built into our system is a respect for private companies to put in place their own policies. But I think the President would be the first one to observe that the success of … social media and some of those social media tools is in fact predicated on the idea of freedom of expression,” Earnest said.
Yiannopolous added that he believed his Twitter verification blue check was removed for “making fun of the wrong group of people” and added that he feared there was a trend of censorship taking place.
“Are there any mechanisms the government can use to remind these companies that they have that responsibility, or do we just have to trust that the market is going to punish them if they don’t?” he asked.
“I’m not sure exactly what sort of government policy decision could have any impact on that. There is though a third branch of government, our courts. They’re supposed to be insulated from politics, they’re supposed to be in a position to resolve those kinds of questions. So if there are private citizens who believe their constitutional rights are being violated in some way, they do have an opportunity to address that before a judge in a court of law,” Earnest replied.
Watch the exchange below.
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