By now the complaints are voluminous and widely known, but it’s become clear that popular social media Web sites YouTube (a Google subsidiary), Twitter and Facebook do not intend to end censorship of conservatives’ messaging and content on their platforms.
The highest profile example from this week is Twitter’s block of an ad by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, who announced her campaign to run for the Senate seat currently held by retiring Bob Corker. The nearly 3-minute video highlighted Blackburn’s conservative credentials, including the claim that she’s “100 percent pro-life.”
“I fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts, thank God,” Blackburn says in the video advertisement.
That factual statement was too much for Twitter’s censors, who according to Blackburn, told her the reference to fetal tissue was “deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction.” She said she was told she could pay to promote her ad – which is available for viewing and linking otherwise – if she removed the “offending” remark.
“Twitter can go out there and allow all of this showing take a knee during the National Anthem,” Blackburn told Fox News on Monday night, “but they will not allow a pro-life, pro-woman, pro-baby message.”
After 24 hours, however, Twitter reconsidered and said it will allow Blackburn to advertise her video as-is.
Facebook recently has been called out for video censorship as well. A Tennessee pastor, Greg Locke, was told that he violated the social media site’s “community standards” by posting a video that characterized transgenderism as a mental illness and that the activism supporting special “rights” for the condition should not be equated with the civil rights movement. The video was deleted and he was banned by Facebook for 24 hours, according to the Christian Post, and was told his account would be permanently shut down if he violated the terms again.
But Locke fought back.
“NO Facebook, I DID NOT violate your ‘community standards,’” Locke wrote in a subsequent Facebook post. “I merely upset the LGBTQ crowd and you bowed to the criticism and deleted my video.”
The follow-up went viral, and Locke then re-posted the original video on September 18, and it now has more than 358,000 views.
Facebook isn’t only picking on pastors. According to Bre Payton of conservative Web site The Federalist, she has seen a significant drop in views and engagement on the site’s Facebook page.
“I’ve had meetings and been in rooms with a bunch of other people that I work with and people that I know who run Facebook pages for other conservative networks and organizations,” she told Neil Cavuto on Fox Business. “And we’ve all been in a room together scratching our heads, saying, ‘What is going on? What can we do to try to fix this?’”
Payton said she believes the censorship is Facebook’s response, and enforcement against, so-called “fake news,” in which anyone can flag a post with the suspicious tag.
“The point is that it is enabling Internet troll mobs to be able to just get upset and gang up on something that they don’t like,” she told Cavuto.
Then there’s YouTube, which offers plenty of examples of shutting down conservatives trying to make a buck on the popular channel. This week Web personality Mark Dice reported that YouTube punished him for a video about a church shooting outside Nashville last month in which the assailant sought revenge for the attacks by white supremacist Dylann Roof, who attacked a black church in Charleston, SC.
Dice titled his video, “Black Man Shoots Up White Church – Media Ignores Anti-White Hate Crime.” Dice said he was told – similar to Blackburn – that the video “violates (YouTube’s) community guidelines,” and that he was penalized by not being allowed to live-stream his channel for three months.
“It didn’t show any graphic photos or video,” Dice explained. “It didn’t use harsh language. It simply was talking about the fact that this crime has been ignored by the mainstream media. And now YouTube is trying to actively censor the story.”
Dice criticized the YouTube double-standard by pointing out a video the channel allowed that featured a crazed Muslim immigrant, waving a couple of knives, who threatened to “circumcise” President Trump.
It’s not just about views, or removal of accounts or videos from YouTube’s site; It’s about demonetization and the resultant disincentive to creatively produce content. Popular online personalities Diamond and Silk, two dynamic black women from North Carolina, said in August that 95 percent of their videos on YouTube had been demonetized because of their passionate support for President Trump. They say they were told that their content is “not suitable for all advertisers.”
“@YouTube,” Diamond and Silk tweeted, “how was it OK to monetize our videos for the past two years and now those same videos are no longer eligible for monetization?”
Daily Caller reported in August that a number of lesser-known conservatives were seeing similar restrictions placed on their videos by YouTube. One, activist Luke Rudkowski, said he had hundreds of his videos suddenly unable to run ads.
“Having had 660 of my videos demonetized in one day left me a little stunned since this is the core for my income but left me with the impression that this was done on purpose,” he told Daily Caller. “This was videos from years ago predominately targeting the most viewed videos which has eviscerated my income.
“After dealing with all the repeated issues with YouTube it is clear that this is a campaign to de-incentivize any critical thinkers and anti-authoritarians from their platform.”
At the same time the social media platforms have amplified the fraudulent narratives of Black Lives Matter and other leftist causes, unfettered. There is a clear double standard.
While Congress scrutinizes the monopolistic activities of Google, Facebook, and others, and investigate the Russians’ use of their platforms to meddle in U.S. elections last year, they also need to get at the systemic power they have to muzzle those whose speech they disagree with.