While President Donald Trump clearly loves social media, one of his sons seems to think one social media network is trying to censor him. Donald Trump Jr. accused Instagram of shadow banning him in an attempt to censor conservative thought. The president's eldest son also claimed the photo and video sharing social network was trying to put off users who search his name by hitting them with a warning. Although Trump Jr. appeared to imply he'd been hit with the dreaded Instagram shadow ban, his posts and hashtags did not appear to be undiscoverable by users (like me) who do not follow him.
"Honestly it’s time for me to put this out there," Trump Jr. wrote in an Instagram caption posted Friday. "See video and pic where a friend searching MY NAME got a message warning that 'Posts with words or tags you’re searching for often encourage behavior that can cause harm and even lead to death.'" Trump Jr. also said he'd recently seen "a crazy drop off in new followers," noting that last week he'd had more than 7 million impressions but zero new followers. The president's son claimed he used to average about 10,000 new followers each week. He's currently listed as having 1.1 million followers.
"Are you fricken kidding me? @zuck this is insane," he went on to write, tagging the official account of Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive officer. Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012. ""I get that my 3 year old Chloe can be pretty aggressive as are a few of my humorous memes, but this is ridiculous," he continued. "If this account 'could cause harm and even lead to death' we have serious problems.The #shadowban nonsense and the hysteria RE any conservative thought has to stop."
Not one of the #donaldtrumpjr hashtag searches carried out by Bustle turned up the warning. USA Today, The Hill, and CBS News were also reportedly unable to find evidence of the warning in their own searches. Instagram did not immediately return Bustle's request for comment.
Trump Jr. isn't the only supporter of President Trump to allege that conservatives are being censored on social media platforms. "Agree. We dropped a video today & in 3 hrs we only received 44K views but we have 1.6 Million likes & Followers," popular conservative commentator duo Diamond and Silk tweeted in response to Trump Jr.'s recent claims. "The left calls it a hoax, we call it CENSORSHIP."
Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson — the two vocal Trump supporters known more commonly as Diamond and Silk — went on to argue social media networks were using algorithms to censor and suppress their message. "If this is suppose to be a platform for all, Algorithms should not be used to censor voices & suppress our reach," the duo tweeted.
In April, the duo appeared before a House Judiciary Committee to discuss their claims of social media censorship. According to the Hill, the duo were heavily criticized by members of the panel for reportedly falsely claiming they had been blocked on Facebook, had never received word of policy changes from Facebook, and hadn't received money from Trump's presidential campaign. Lawmakers found Facebook had never blocked or suspended activity on the duo's page and that emails sent from Facebook to Diamond and Silk had been made public and that the Trump campaign's Federal Election Commission filings noted Diamond and Silk were given more than $1,000 for "field consulting."
In the video Trump Jr. posted Friday, a user appears to search the hashtag #donaldtrumpjr on Instagram before being ultimately met with a warning. A majority of the other hashtags that popped up as a result of the search were less than kind to Trump's son and included #donaldtrumpjrisatool, #donaldtrumpjrcolludedwithRussia, #donaldtrumpjrblows, #donaldtrumpjrisaliar. Only one hashtag — #donaldtrumpjr2024 — appeared complimentary.