Make It Make Sense: Online Censors Demand Trust Despite Stifling Free Speech

April 9th, 2024 1:03 PM

Big Tech censors work to violate Americans’ constitutional rights and then turn around and demand implicit trust from those same Americans. This was evident from two recent events.

Soon after Twitter Files journalist Matt Taibbi warned Americans to pay attention to the “mass censorship” occurring online thanks to public and private partners, a “disinformation” expert called on Americans to believe only “trusted” and pre-approved sources for election-related content. 

Yet the very sources considered trustworthy by legacy media and social media platforms are the sources complicit in the suppression of free speech, particularly around elections. Indeed, Big Tech fact checks operate as a form of censorship, penalizing content to promote certain “trusted” viewpoints and outlets.

For instance, during an April 2 panel for investigative media group Spotlight PA, Beth Schwanke, the executive director of the Pitt Disinformation Lab, recommended trusting biased, legacy media over free speech online debate. 

“One thing everyone can do to make sure they are seeing accurate information is to use trusted sources,” Schwanke pontificated, according to a transcript by Reclaim the Net. “So in elections that means using the Department of State, that means using your county elections office, it means using media organizations that follow, that adhere, to professional journalism standards like … your local NPR affiliate.”

She further scoffed, “And it doesn’t mean you know, ‘doing your own research’ and just asking questions and sharing, you know, posts from — I don’t know, in my case, it’s Uncle Joe, right?” 

Yet, undercutting her claims, both government agencies and media outlets have supported or actively facilitated censorship, sometimes of accurate information. This is the Censorship Industrial Complex uncovered by the Twitter Files, created by government and Big Tech and defended by legacy media. Hence, Taibbi had a warning on March 25 at RealClearPolitics’ Samizdat Prize award ceremony

Taibbi specifically cited the 2020 censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop scandal, censorship which swayed the presidential election for Democrat Joe Biden, according to a Media Research Center poll. While researching the Twitter Files, “we did find within days a whole galaxy of things that said, ‘Flagged by FBI,’ ‘Flagged by DHS,’ ‘Flagged by HHS,’ ‘Flagged By Treasury,’” Taibbi stated.

The government was coordinating censorship of certain content with Twitter. “We realized there was this huge operation that spanned the entire federal government to pressure not just Twitter, but two dozen at least internet companies to suppress different kinds of information,” Taibbi added. 

Certain journalists’ accounts were even flagged for censorship. “[We] were all caught up in this story of mass censorship that until very recently was hidden. This has to be out in the open more, people need to know more about it,” Taibbi insisted.

Indeed, Big Tech platforms have fact-checking partners, often biased third-party censors or legacy media outlets. Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram and Google-owned YouTube all made MRC Free Speech America’s worst censorship of March list for preposterous fact checks. 

The platforms impose labels that greatly reduce interaction with content based on the fact checks. X (formerly Twitter) Community Notes is somewhat different in approving users that can choose to fact check content, but the company still imposes demonetization and other penalties on posts that receive the Notes. 

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency and an equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.