WORST Censorship in August: Five Times Big Tech Silenced Free Speech

September 1st, 2023 11:42 AM

The Big Tech oligarchs are hard at work censoring free speech, including censorship that constitutes election interference as the 2024 election season heats up.

Big Tech was back to its usual censorship shenanigans during the month of August, and MRC Free Speech America has documented some of the worst examples. Google engaged in its usual search engine manipulation undermining Republican candidates just before the first GOP primary debate. YouTube fact-checked GOP presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy twice this month, a concerning continuation of Big Tech’s 2020 and 2022 election-interfering censorship. Apple quashed The Glenn Beck Program on Apple Podcasts for what the platform alleged was an unspecified “issue” with the show. Meanwhile, Meta-owned Instagram censored New Discourses President James Lindsay’s account for posting a meme about leftist climate activist Greta Thunberg. Instagram fact-checkers also flagged a post by The Federalist reporting on highly controversial climate “targets” proposed by the C40 Climate Leadership Group.

No one is safe from Big Tech’s censorship obsession, and these examples of the worst censorship of August highlight just how banal and far-reaching the online censorship regime is.

1) Election Interference: Google buries GOP candidates’ websites the day before primary debate. MRC Free Speech America researchers caught Google interfering in yet another election. When MRC researchers searched Google for “presidential campaign websites” using MRC’s algorithm, the search engine did not display a single Republican candidate on its first page of results—only a day before the first Republican Party presidential primary debate! President Joe Biden’s campaign website did, however, show up as the second search result. Biden’s Democratic Party challenger Marianne Williamson’s campaign website showed up as the fifth result.

Despite being Biden’s main challenger, 2024 Democrat presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., did not appear in Google’s search results either.

Google even displayed results for past failed Democratic Party presidential candidates who aren’t even running this cycle, while current Republicans were missing. For example, Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) website was the ninth result and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign website turned up twenty-ninth in the results. Google is apparently continuing the same search engine bias MRC Free Speech America exposed for the 2022 election.

2) More Election Interference: YouTube fact-checks Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy. Big Tech always seems to step up its censorship just when an election season starts to heat up, and one of this month’s victims was Vivek Ramaswamy.

YouTube fact-checked the presidential candidate’s video on Aug. 1 called, “Vivek Ramaswamy Responds to Trump's Jan. 6 Indictment” with a context label. The label linked to Wikipedia. Ramaswamy argued in the video that the indictment of his fellow presidential candidate was “political persecution.”

Ramaswamy posted another video on YouTube Aug. 21 called, “Vivek Ramaswamy & Tucker Carlson: 9/11.” The presidential candidate explained his opinion that the federal “government absolutely lied to us” about the devastating events of 9/11. The context label that YouTube slapped on the video from Encyclopedia Britannica described the findings of the 9/11 commission and how the September 11, 2001 attacks were “the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil in U.S. history.” The piece did not address Ramaswamy’s allegations.

3) “Glitches”: Apple silences The Glenn Beck Program. BlazeMedia founder and radio host Glenn Beck found his show canceled by Apple for unspecified reasons, as MRC Free Speech America reported.

Beck posted a video on X (formerly Twitter) on Aug. 16, saying that Apple Podcasts had removed his show, The Glenn Beck Program, from its platform. This means that not only could he not upload any future episodes, but his past episodes had also vanished from the platform. Beck said he “cannot imagine” what the issue was, adding, “there is nothing we have said that would warrant any removal.” Apple sent Beck a very vague excuse. "We found an issue with your show The Glenn Beck Program, which must be resolved before it's available on Apple Podcasts,” according to a screenshot Beck posted. He said there was no way of receiving an explanation from Apple. The link the Big Tech company sent “only says you have been removed from Apple podcasts.”

Beck predicted that Apple would eventually claim that the undefined “issue” it cited was a “glitch,” though he sarcastically commented on how glitches are never fixed until lots of people point them out. He also predicted more “glitches” ahead of the 2024 election. Beck then said that situations like these highlight the need for a parallel economy of free speech platforms and media like TheBlaze.

4) Humorless Censorship: Instagram censors meme about Greta Thunberg. The Meta-owned platform quickly cracked down when James Lindsay posted a meme about climate activist Thunberg on his Instagram account, conceptualjames.

The Babylon Bee’s Ashley St. Clair tweeted August 2, “Instagram has just blocked James Lindsay’s account from being shown to anybody who doesn’t already follow him because of a Greta Thunberg meme[.] Why anybody still uses Zuckerberg’s trigger-happy censorship hellscape is beyond me.” St. Clair shared screenshots that apparently showed the censored meme, which depicted Thunberg holding a sign that read, “Climate Crisis: Where the weather is always your fault and the only solution is more communism.”

St. Clair also shared a second image, a purported screenshot of Instagram’s message to Lindsay: “Your account can’t be shown to non-followers. Your account activity may not follow our Recommendations Guidelines.” The platform’s message added, “Your account and content won’t appear in places like Explore, Search, Suggested Users, Reels, and Feed Recommendations.”

5) Anti-Americanism: Instagram fact-checks The Federalist for exposing radical climate group. Instagram certainly sided with climate-obsessed leftists this month. It slapped a fact-check on a video with verifiably true reporting.

The Federalist and its staff writer Evita Duffy-Alfonso released a video reporting on the Arup Group’s C40 Cities Headline Report titled "The Future of Urban Consumption in a 1.5°C World." The report included charts (on pages 78 & 80) of its "progressive targets" and its climate goals for the year 2030. More than a dozen U.S. cities are reportedly committed to the goals of C40 Cites, according to The Federalist. "Fourteen major American cities are part of a globalist climate group known as the ‘C40 Climate Leadership Group,’ which has an 'ambitious target' by the year 2030 of ‘0 kg’ of ‘meat consumption, ‘0 kg’ of ‘dairy consumption,’ ‘3 new clothing items’ per year per person, and 0 private vehicles owned,” Duffy-Alonso reported.

Despite the fact that the C40 Cities’ goals that The Federalist reported can be verified as true, PolitiFact and AFP issued so-called fact-checks, which Instagram then used to censor The Federalist. PolitiFact mystifyingly claimed C40 “was not advocating that cities meet the ambitious targets.” Meanwhile AFP ridiculously reported in its so-called fact-check the same basic sentiment: “[T]hose numbers are not policy recommendations.” And it then quoted a C40 spokesperson who claimed, “No C40 city mayor has agreed to force people to eliminate meat and dairy consumption, or otherwise severely restrict consumption.” That may be, because to do so is insane. 

Gabriela Pariseau contributed to this report.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the CensorTrack contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.