WASHINGTON (Reuters) – California will join other states planning to participate in a meeting organized by the U.S. Justice Department to discuss concerns about conservative voices being stifled on social media, the state’s attorney general said on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra speaks at a media conference in Los Angeles, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

The Justice Department said it had invited a bipartisan group of 24 state attorneys general to attend the Sept. 25 meeting.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions called the meeting after President Donald Trump criticized social media outlets for what he said was unfair treatment of conservatives.

Lawmakers in both the House of Representatives and the Senate held hearings this month to grill executives of social media companies about their handling of conservative voices online.

Companies like Facebook Inc, Twitter Inc and Google owner Alphabet Inc have been accused by some conservatives of seeking to exclude their ideas.

The companies deny any such bias.

“Today, the Justice Department formally sent invitations to a bipartisan group of twenty-four state attorneys general that expressed an interest in attending the meeting hosted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions,” a Justice Department official said.

“The meeting will take place here at the Department of Justice, and we look forward to having a robust dialogue with all attendees on the topic of social media platforms.”

The Justice Department invited officials from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office to the meeting after Becerra reached out to Washington, Becerra spokeswoman Sarah Lovenheim said in an email statement.

“States like California, the nation’s tech leader and home to a $385 billion tech industry, have a wealth of insight and expertise to share in any inquiry about the role of technology companies, and we look forward to a thoughtful conversation in Washington, D.C.,” Becerra said in a statement.

Texas and South Carolina said previously they would participate, while others said they were not invited.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Additional reporting by Dan Levine in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney



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