According to Free Speech America, an ongoing project of the Media Research Center, social media is obsessed with defending an approved point of view by punishing opposing views on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, TikTok, LinkedIn, and Spotify.
MRC Free Speech America analysis (first quarter of 2023)
Twitter censorship: After the Covenant School shooting, users were punished for raising awareness about a “Trans Day of Vengeance” protest
Facebook censorship: 3.8 million users saw a “Missing Context” label on a Tucker Carlson segment from Fox News about COVID-19 originating in a Chinese military lab. Glenn Beck’s discussion of Jan. 6 security footage was blocked from his Facebook followers, too
YouTube censorship: Project Veritas was punished for an undercover video in which a Pfizer executive admitted COVID-19 vaccines are “ineffective” against variants of the virus. YouTube also blocked pro-gun content, too, affecting 6.8 million users.
---May 10 “CensorTrack” report by Heather Moon and Gabriela Pariseau
How many instances of censorship? Citing what it calls “secondhand censorship,” MRC says shadowy keyboard Nazis took action a whopping 82 million times during the first quarter of 2023. In their biggest efforts at censorship, they blocked posts criticizing the “Trans Day of Vengeance” on Twitter; a Tucker Carlson news segment about Jan. 6 on Facebook; and an undercover Project Veritas video on YouTube.
MRC defines “secondhand censorship” when a news article or a video clip is hidden from a user, such as Facebook hiding this AFN article from public views.
"The censorship industrial complex is irate,” says MRC spokesman Dan Schneider, “that people are starting to stand up for their free speech rights again."
Perhaps surprising many, Elon Musk-owned Twitter went nuts when conservatives called attention to a “Trans Day of Vengeance” rally planned in front of the U.S. Supreme Court. That event got little attention until a transgender shooter killed six people at a Nashville private school. For attempting to shame the organizers for their plans, Twitter punished journalist Andy Ngo and Sean Davis, and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, among many others.
Ella Irwin, Twitter's head of trust and safety, acknowledged Twitter removed more than 5,000 tweets and retweets of the "Vengeance" poster promoting the event.
"We do not support tweets that incite violence irrespective of who posts them, Irwin wrote, even though the social media site was punishing critics of the event but had not cracked down on the organizers or transgender supporters who literally called their protest a "Day of Vengeance."
Thanks to Twitter’s new owner, however, conservatives appealed directly to Musk on his social media site and, according to Schneider, the billionaire was listening.
"Elon Musk just recently took steps to address our concern and no longer will he allow his subordinates to censor transgender stories,” Schneider advises. “Whatever penalties are forthcoming when someone violates Twitter's policies, the penalties will be less severe.”
Two opposing views on Section 230
On the issue of Big Tech censorship, Schneider supports an attempt by Congress to reform Section 230 of federal law that exempts the powerful Big Tech companies from lawsuits related to censorship.
"It is obscene,” Schneider argues, “that these giant Big Tech platforms are not held to the same liability standards that every other manufacturer is, every other provider is.”
The idea of allowing Congress to weaken or change Section 230 is opposed by free speech advocacy group Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, or FIRE. Eliminating Section 230 would “stifle Big Tech's competition, disproportionately affecting startups and smaller websites with less money and resources to moderate content and fend off lawsuits,” the group said in a statement.