October 3, 2016
The Non-Coverage of Censorship Tech companies from Facebook to Twitter claim a right to censor speech because they are private companies, yet they offer themselves up as public utilities to enable free speech. Yet their acts of censorship are severely under-reported due to said censorship. The breadth of this issue was reported in an Observer August, 2016 about how Twitter, Instagram and Google are colluding to prevent a Trump victory.
However, the censorship of politically incorrect content and conservative users remains under-reported because of the same biases these platforms’ managers hold. Facebook has been disproportionately blocking conservatives such as censoring Pamela Gellar for criticizing accommodations of Islam after the 6/12/2016 attacks. Facebook has routinely banned groups for politically incorrect opinions, such as banning the gay magazine Gaystream when it posted content critical of Islam after the 6/12/16 attacks.
Laura Southern was blocked on Facebook after complaining about its censorship of conservatives in mid-2016. In 2016, the Jewish group Israel Video Network set up two Facebook pages with the same set up and content except one was pro-Israel and the other pro-Palestinian. The pro-Palestinian one calling for death to Jews was deemed acceptable, while the inverse message was banned almost immediately for violating community standards. When user curated content and shared news stories circulate, social media platforms often silence the most popular ones based on their own biases. The Gizmodo article in May 2016 about Facebook routinely suppressing trending news stories with a conservative view while injecting liberal ones into trending news even if there was no user interest only confirmed what many already suspected.
Another example of this is when Apple labeled podcasts pro-Trump as explicit, but podcasts talking about dictators and various atrocities didn’t receive similar warnings. WikiLeaks has slowly released a steady stream of major scandals ranging from immoral to illegal. Yet it was outright banned on Facebook. It was only shadow-banned on Twitter. Twitter has likewise engaged in censorship of conservatives. Banning Milo Yiannapolis is perhaps the best known example when he insulted a black actress, though her incitement of digital hate mobs on other critics and racist statements against whites were ignored.
Another example was the shadow banning of Dilbert creator Scott Adams the day after he endorsed Trump, a shift from his prior endorsement of Hillary Clinton “for his own safety”. Twitter censored conservatives under the guise of fighting hate speech, yet it saw no issue with violent and clearly biased hash tags like #killallwhites, #KillAllJews, #killallwhitemen, #KillAllMen and #waroncops. The irony that Twitter wouldn’t ban ISIS linked Twitter accounts while censoring conservatives was not lost on many. Over the summer of 2016, the hashtag #gaysfortrump was censored but #LGBTQhatestrumpparty was not. This lopsided censorship is partially the reason why Twitter’s stock started to collapse. The censorship is a world-wide phenomenon.
This was a single news story that eventually leaked out. The press in Europe actively ignored reports of Muslim mass sexual assaults on New Years’ Eve 2016 until the story morphed from one video in Cologne, Germany to dozens of attacks across Germany to the truth that similar acts by Muslim gangs assaulted women from Stockholm to Cologne. The story of girls sexually assaulted at a German concert took months to leak out, apparently suppressed over the summer but finally discussed after the Cologne attacks. Police did take action after two dozen reported assaults by Muslim migrants at the Schlossgrabenfestes festival in Darmstadt while their identities as migrants was minimized in the content. Given the sheer volume of evidence of censorship of conservative views, it is not surprising the censorship itself isn’t reported more often, only disappointing.