5 of Big Tech’s Most Serious Acts of Censorship

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Facebook co-founder, Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a combined Senate Judiciary and Commerce committee hearing in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC. Zuckerberg, 33, was called to testify after it was reported that 87 million …
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Over the past year, Big Tech has greatly increased the rate of censorship online. Breitbart News has reported on these efforts extensively, here are five of the most serious acts of censorship by the Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe.

The Masters of the Universe have made a number of attempts to take further control of speech on the internet. Whether that means blacklisting public figures that they dislike or cracking down on the types of content considered acceptable to discuss online, tech giants have worked hard to further limit open discussion online.

Here are five examples of recent censorship attempts by the self-appointed Silicon Valley Masters of the Universe:

1: All Major Social Media Platform Blacklist Former President Trump

In January 2021, following riots at Capitol Hill, a number of social media firms took action against then-President Trump alleging that his rhetoric contributed to the Capitol hill events. In response, Facebook permanently suspended President Trump, as did Twitter.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated at the time:

The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden.

His decision to use his platform to condone rather than condemn the actions of his supporters at the Capitol building has rightly disturbed people in the US and around the world. We removed these statements yesterday because we judged that their effect — and likely their intent — would be to provoke further violence.

Following the certification of the election results by Congress, the priority for the whole country must now be to ensure that the remaining 13 days and the days after inauguration pass peacefully and in accordance with established democratic norms.

Over the last several years, we have allowed President Trump to use our platform consistent with our own rules, at times removing content or labeling his posts when they violate our policies. We did this because we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech. But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government.

We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great. Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.

Twitter similarly banned Trump, stating: “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence.”

Politicians and commentators from across the political spectrum, including former Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, liberal journalist Glenn Greenwald, and countless conservative lawmakers warned that this is a threat to freedom of speech and democracy.

It was reported a few days after Trump’s ban that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also worried by the suspension of Trump from the platforms, stating that the bannings were “problematic” and she did not believe that social media management should be able to interfere with the right of freedom of expression.

Facebook has since referred its decision to ban Trump to the Facebook Oversight Board which has the ability to overrule Facebook’s decision. The board operates independently from Facebook – but every member of it receives a salary from Facebook.

The board recently voted to temporarily uphold the ban on former President Trump’s accounts on the platform. The board has reportedly told Facebook that it has six months to announce an end date to the former President’s suspension or permanently delete his pages.

The board stated that Facebook cannot “make up the rules as it goes along,” by banning some users for a set amount of time and others indefinitely. Read more at Breitbart News here.

2: Facebook, Twitter Heavily Suppress New York Post‘s Hunter Biden Bombshell

In October of last year, Facebook and Twitter simultaneously worked to suppress a bombshell news article from the New York Post that indicated contrary to his previous denials that Joe Biden met with an adviser to the board of Burisma while he was vice president, arranged by his son Hunter, who was then working as a lobbyist for the company.

Facebook massively reduced the distribution of the article on its platform, shortly afterward Twitter marked links to the story as “unsafe,” and eventually locked the official New York Post Twitter account.

Breitbart News reported at the time:

The story made the front page of the Post, which also reveals that the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is investigating emails provided to it by a whistleblower, allegedly between Hunter Biden and executives at Burisma.

His father has previously said, “I have never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”

But according to emails obtained by the Post, Hunter introduced his father to a Burisma executive less than a year before the then-vice president pressured the Ukrainian government into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company.

Facebook spokesman and former Democrat staffer Andy Stone announced the decision on Twitter, and also practically invited Facebook’s supposedly neutral fact-checkers to challenge the story.

Significantly, the social network took the rare step of acting in advance of a decision by its “third-party fact-checkers,” on which it usually relies on to defer responsibility for censoring news publishers.

That move is practically unprecedented, arguably protecting the former vice president from a major political scandal at a critical time in the 2020 election.

“While I will intentionally not link to the New York Post, I want be clear that this story is eligible to be fact checked by Facebook’s third-party fact checking partners,” said Stone. “In the meantime, we are reducing its distribution on our platform.”

On October 30, 2020, Breitbart News reported that the New York Post’s official Twitter account had been unlocked. Twitter explained its reasoning in a series of tweets, writing:

Read more at Breitbart News here.

3: Google Suppresses Breitbart News in Searches on Topics like “Biden”

In July, Breitbart News published data that showed that Breitbart’s Google search visibility is down 99 percent compared to the same period in 2016.

This was later confirmed by data published by RealClearPolitics and showed that the same censorship was affecting other conservative news websites.

It appeared that Google was not returning Breitbart News links in searches, even when users search for the exact string of words in an original Breitbart headline. When links to Breitbart stories do appear, it is often below obscure websites plagiarizing Breitbart’s content.

Breitbart News reported at the time:

In a new video, Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alex Marlow reveals in additional detail the depth of Google’s suppression of Breitbart’s reporting.

“Breitbart News is, according to Amazon-owned Alexa.com, one of the top five news publishers in the United States, yet if you search — verbatim — Breitbart headlines in Google, you won’t necessarily get any Breitbart results at all,” Marlow said.

The video goes on to demonstrate Google’s suppression of Breitbart News.

In one example, the viral Breitbart News story, “Maskless Nancy Pelosi Goes to San Francisco Hair Salon Despite Coronavirus Restrictions,” fails to return any links to the site on Google.

Instead, Google displays a list of obscure websites, some of which have plagiarized Breitbart’s article, posting the article and headline in full.

Google only displays one link that might lead users to Breitbart’s story, a link to a post about the article on thedonald.win, an independent online forum set up by exiles from r/the_Donald, the Reddit hub of Trump supporters that was blacklisted by the leftist administrators of Reddit earlier this year.

The same experiment was repeated with various other headlines, which again yield links to obscure websites plagiarizing the articles.

In November, Breitbart News published a report providing further information on the suppression of the website by Google. Breitbart noted that clicks and impressions to Breitbart News from Google searches for “Joe Biden” were still at zero where they had remained for seven months at the time. 

Breitbart News reported:

As the following chart shows, clicks and impressions to Breitbart News from “Joe Biden” Google searches displayed a healthy pattern of activity until the middle of 2020, when they suddenly flatlined.

As Breitbart News reported several months ago, the plunge first occurred after a major update to Google’s search algorithm in May 2020.

Despite the fact that Breitbart News reported it, Google has neither fixed the issue nor commented on it.

Searches for “Hunter Biden” show a similar pattern, with far more clicks and impressions before Google’s May update, even though the vast majority of public attention on scandals related to the former VP’s son came relatively recently. 

Breitbart News reached out to Google for comment at the time but no new information was forthcoming from the tech giant. Read more at Breitbart News here.

4: YouTube Forces Political Videos it Doesn’t Like Into ‘Private’ Mode

Breitbart News reported in April 2021 that the google-owned video hosting platform YouTube has been forcing politically dissident videos into “private” mode, limiting the viewership of the video only to the video’s uploader and preventing them from being seen by the public.

YouTube informed Republican candidate Laura Loomer that it had locked her content in this manner, telling her that only she would be able to see a video she uploaded titled “Why Does The Left Blame White People for Everything?”

Loomer, who ran for Congress in Donald Trump’s home district of FL-21 in 2020, and plans to do so again in 2022, was informed of the change to the video’s status via an email from YouTube despite the video being publicly visible on her YouTube channel for three years.

“The video they cited is three years old!,” said Loomer in a post on Gab. “More political censorship and discrimination from Big Tech!”

YouTube informed Loomer: “Content locked as private won’t appear on your channel or in search results, and it won’t be visible to other users.” YouTube alleged that Loomer’s video violated its “violent or graphic content policy” with the video.

Read more at Breitbart News here.

5: “Fact-Checkers” Work to Push Leftist Worldview

Over the course of the past year, Breitbart News has reported extensively on attempts by leftist “fact-checker” groups to rewrite events and influence the modern news narrative, such as Twitter’s Head of Site Integrity outright accusing members of the Trump administration of being “Nazis,” and Facebook restricting the reach of PragerU’s page for the “repeated sharing of false news.” 

Breitbart News reported in May that Politifact, a political fact-checking group, was eight times as likely to defend President Biden than fact-check him. Breitbart News reported:

A Media Research Center (MRC) study found that four years ago, PolitiFact gave 52 fact checks including a “Truth-O-Meter” ruling of former President Donald Trump his first 100 days, while in the same time period in 2021, it offered 13 fact checks of President Joe Biden, NewsBusters reported Tuesday.

“On its website, PolitiFact splits its Biden verdicts into ‘Facts Checks Of Biden’ and ‘Fact Checks About Biden.’ Our review of the first 100 days shows 13 fact checks ‘of Biden,’ and 106 fact checks ‘about Biden.’ That’s an eight-to-one disparity,” the outlet stated.

NewsBusters also suggested PolitiFact is more sensitive when it came to people allegedly telling falsehoods about Biden than it is about him lying:

Many of the fact checks about Biden are about “Facebook Posts,” “Viral Images,” or “Tweets.” Those rulings often translate into content warnings. But there were two “Pants on Fire” rulings for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and one each for Fox News and for Tucker Carlson. Liz Cheney got the Flaming Pants for insisting that less than six percent of Biden’s infrastructure package is about infrastructure.

Perhaps the surprising measurement here is that the percentage of PolitiFact “Truth-O-Meter” rating of Biden and Trump were the same – 61.5 percent. Trump just had four times as many evaluations. Thirty-two of 52 Trump evaluations were defined as “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire.” Eight of 13 Biden evaluations landed on the False side. Biden had zero “Pants on Fire” ratings in the first 100 days. In 2017, Trump had two.

In April, the Washington Post announced that it would no longer be updating its presidential fact-checking database after just one hundred days into the Biden presidency. Breitbart News reported:

“Glenn Kessler, editor and chief writer of the Fact Checker, tweeted late Monday that the team would continue to fact-check President Biden ‘rigorously’ but would no longer maintain the database started under former President Trump,” the Washington Times reported Tuesday.

Kessler shared a link to the database, writing, “Here’s the Biden database — which we do not plan to extend beyond 100 days. I have learned my lesson”:

Kessler explained, “‘Learned my lesson’ means that who knows what the next four years will bring. We have fact-checked Biden rigorously and will continue to do so. Trump at 500 claims/100 days was manageable; 8,000+ was not.”

He also urged readers to let him know if his team missed something during the first 100 days, adding, “What we produced is more comprehensive than anything else out there.”

In November, PolitiFact was forced to issue a correction after conservative commentator Candace Owens challenged the “false” rating attached to a video she posted about Biden. Politifact said in a statement:

Correction: PolitiFact originally labeled this video false in our capacity as a third-party fact-checker for Facebook. On Nov. 20, an appeal to that decision was made on behalf of Ms. Owens. PolitiFact approved the appeal on Nov. 20, determined that a correction was appropriate, and removed the false rating.

Owens said in her video that was falsely “fact-checked” by PolitiFact: “Anybody who understands politics, who passed a basic level of civics knows that right now, in this moment, Joe Biden is literally and legally not the president-elect. This information cannot be fact-checked, because that is the truth, so they cannot take that off, they cannot censor that. It is a fact.”

Breitbart News reported at the time:

In August, Owens announced that she would be suing Facebook over its “blatant censorship” after the social media platform demonetized her page following her comments about senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) swearing into congress in 2017 as an “Indian-American.”

“I am SO EXCITED that we get to watch [Kamala Harris], who swore into congress as an ‘Indian-American’, now play the ‘I’m a black a woman’ card all the way until November,” Owens had quipped on social media. “Fun times!”

At the time, Owens told Breitbart News that Big Tech “censorship issue is real and we haven’t done enough to fight it as conservatives.”

“All they [fact checkers] have to do is find one opposite opinion, and they can give you a false rating,” Owens explained. “You have to send a legal letter every time to get it reversed.”

Read more at Breitbart News here.

These are just some examples of recent attempts by Big Tech to silence conservative voices, shift the mainstream narratives, and crack down on dissenting opinions online. Breitbart News will continue to report on these issues and keep our readers informed of all online censorship.

Read more at Breitbart Tech.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.