There’s no doubt that Big Tech has done its part to eliminate speech that harms the Democratic Party, the Biden administration or otherwise runs counter to the left’s narrative. Social media platforms have aggressively silenced and gaslit the American people, but as MRC has documented, Big Tech has overplayed its hand.
MRC Free Speech America’s exclusive CensorTrack database has now documented 6,000 cases of censorship. Cases span a variety of important issues from legitimate criticism of President Joe Biden and his radical climate change agenda to health concerns about COVID-19, so-called “transgenderism” and abortion. Since 2020, MRC Free Speech America researchers have worked tirelessly to track down and record the censorship of some of the most high-profile cases of deplatforming, along with the takedowns of those who have written to us and asked us to investigate their cases of censorship.
Big Tech’s suppression of voices countering the left’s narrative has been incredibly alarming these last three years. In a matter of just four months, Americans saw Twitter and Facebook interfere in the 2020 election when they suppressed the New York Post’s Hunter Biden laptop scandal; Big Tech nearly ubiquitously block then-sitting President of the United States Donald Trump from speaking online; and Google, Apple and Amazon carry out a coordinated attack against one of the fastest growing free speech apps, Parler. And all this happened even before Joe Biden took office.
Since then, Big Tech has worked overtime to protect the Biden censorship regime, and in many cases, those censored were correct. Below are several of the biggest issues Big Tech censored as documented on CensorTrack.org:
MRC researchers have documented 739 examples of Big Tech censoring users who dared to criticize President Biden.
Big Tech silenced users who pointed out nearly anything unfavorable about President Biden, the Biden family scandals, his administration and his policies. Entry number 6,000 was no exception.
On Oct. 1, Instagram slapped a so-called fact check on a satirical video meme about Biden’s porous border. The Atlas Society, an organization that promotes the late author Ayn Rand’s philosophy of objectivism, posted a video meme with the words “The Biden Administration securing the Southern Border.” The video showed what appears to be a group of people standing in a line attempting to secure an area of a sports field. Each person has their arms outstretched as they try, and fail, to block people from walking onto the field.
Instagram placed an interstitial over the humorous post and labeled it “False Information.” The platform also linked to a PolitiFact fact-check article headlined: “US southern border ‘completely open’? That’s False.” The recycled fact check was from 2021 and specifically addressed claims that the U.S.-Mexico border was open during the 2021 Omicron variant outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, something completely irrelevant to the Atlas Society satirical video.
Even if the fact check was up to date, it completely ignores the seriousness of Biden’s dangerous open border policy, as countless military-aged males pour across the U.S. southern border. It particularly focuses on “enforcement encounters” border agents had with those trying to cross the border, which ended in deportation, completely ignoring crossers who never encounter a border agent. Because the article is outdated, it is also missing important context, specifically the fact that in 2023 the U.S. Border Patrol has had 151 encounters to date with people on the F.B.I.’s terror watch list between ports of entry. That’s more than the last six years combined.
Fact-checked posts lose exposure on Facebook feeds as they are negatively affected by the platform’s algorithm. According to Facebook, users fail to click through a fact-check interstitial to see the post 95 percent of the time.
It would be remiss not to mention Big Tech’s role in repeatedly censoring the Hunter Biden laptop scandal no fewer than 150 times, according to CensorTrack data. On October 14, 2020, Facebook suppressed the story making sure few users heard about it on the platform. Twitter took things a step further by adding an unsafe link warning on the story and later locked users out of their accounts when they tried to share the story.
The mass censorship affected many high profile users, including: Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, elected officials like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA); news outlets like the New York Post, The Washington Free Beacon and The Federalist; satire site The Babylon Bee; celebrities like Donald Trump Jr. and James Woods, and media personalities like The Daily Wire host Candace Owens, Salem radio host Sebastian Gorka and radio host Dana Loesch.
The New York Times would later reluctantly confirm the story in March of 2022.
Big Tech’s censorship of Biden’s critics also included harmless comedic content like the “Let’s Go Brandon” song, Hunter Biden memes and Trump impressionist Shawn Farash’s video narrating Biden falling off his bike in Delaware. “Down he goes. Down goes Sleepy Joe. All the way down, hard and fast like his approval rating,” Farash said, imitating Trump’s voice in the TikTok video before the platform removed it. During an interview with former Newsmax host Benny Johnson, Farash said the video was removed for violating TikTok’s policy on “bullying and harassment.”
Other criticisms of Biden have been much more serious. For example, the plethora of censored video and picture collages of Biden touching children around the waist, face and hair. In one case, Instagram covered a fact-checked Blaze TV video of Biden creepily touching and kissing his grandson. The Blaze added the caption: “Where was the moment of consent? Did we just not see it, or did Biden just commit a thing?” Instagram placed an interstitial over the video that required users to click through in order to view it and linked to a Lead Stories fact-check article that claimed the video constituted “False Information.”
Lead Stories explained that the video was taken in 2015 at the funeral for Beau Biden, one of Joe Biden’s sons and the father of the grandson being touched in the video. The fact-check also claimed that “[i]n many families, these are typical and appropriate public gestures of comfort and affection,” which is not an objective observation that a fact-check should be based on but rather a subjective opinion that can change depending on perspective.
Other criticisms Big Tech has suppressed from the public included: uproar over Bidenflation — which was initially blamed on COVID-19 lockdowns — the Biden Health Department’s free crack pipe “racial equity” program, America’s decline from energy independence and the president’s promise to only appoint a black woman to replace Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.
MRC researchers have documented 1,266 cases of Big Tech censoring information related to COVID-19.
Big Tech’s censorship of COVID-19 debate skyrocketed in 2021. And to make matters worse, much of what was censored as false information turned out to be true. Big Tech pulled the plug on sharing COVID-19 vaccine injury horror stories, muzzled those who spoke out about the inefficacy of masking and kept users from hearing and seeing medical professionals offering alternative treatment options for the virus.
CensorTrack.org data shows that Big Tech silenced over 40 medical doctors, researchers and medical publications and, in some cases, multiple times. In the most sweeping example, Facebook de-platformed the Great Barrington Declaration’s account page. The page promoted a developed by prominent international disease experts to oppose harsh COVID-19 lockdowns imposed on citizens by many world governments, measures that were shown to have had “little to no effect” on COVID-19 mortality, according to a Johns Hopkins University study.
One of the inventors of mRNA vaccine technology Dr. Robert Malone – who has been censored no fewer than eight times – explained the unquantifiable harm caused by Big Tech’s war on COVID-19 information.
“People have been prevented from obtaining informed consent because of the censorship,” Malone said in exclusive comments to MRC Free Speech America in March. He added that “[P]atients aren’t getting that preventative care because the physicians are being, and the patients are being, blocked from understanding about it, and that means there’ll be additional avoidable excess deaths in the future.”
MRC researchers have documented 980 examples of Big Tech censoring criticisms, concerns and warnings about the left’s radical “transgender” ideology.
Big Tech has similarly censored criticism, concerns and frankly the truth about the left’s radical “transgender” movement. Twitter (now X) has censored the most of this type of content by far, accounting for 88 percent of the “transgenderism” related entries in CensorTrack.
The censorship came to a flash point in March of 2022 when The Babylon Bee named U.S. Assistant Secretary of Health Rachel Levine its “man of the year.” The title came in response to
USA Today’s 2022 “Women of the Year” list, which featured Levine, along with no shortage of leftist women. Twitter locked the satire site’s account for violating its rules on hateful conduct and went on to censor many others who made similar comments including: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson and The Babylon Bee’s founder Adam Ford. This incident appears to have played a role in Elon Musk’s decision to buy Twitter.
Prior to Musk’s takeover, Twitter had unilaterally censored the word “groomer” in reference to those who promote the radical “transgender” ideology and drag shows to children.
Twitter, however, was not the only culprit. YouTube also silenced those attempting to report on the disturbing impacts of “transgenderism.” YouTube retroactively removed a video of Canadian psychologist and Daily Wire contributorJordan Peterson interviewing Economist journalist Helen Joyce who authored “Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality.” In the video, the pair discussed the transgender movement’s corruption of language, the reasons why women are so susceptible to the left’s warped gender ideology and the interaction between that ideology and raising children.
Although YouTube did not suspend Peterson’s channel, the platform removed the video episode of his podcast eight months after he posted it.
Peterson tweeted a screenshot of the removal notice that claimed “Content glorifying or inciting violence against another person or group of people is not allowed on YouTube. We also don’t allow any content that encourages hatred of another person or group of people based on their membership in a protected group.” It is unclear what content might have violated this rule.
MRC researchers have documented 181 examples of Big Tech censoring pro-life material online.
Big Tech companies have been loud and clear about their stance on abortion — they’re not pro-life. In September 2021 Google prioritized leftist ideology over human life when it banned Live Action’s pro-life ads, according to the organization’s founder and president Lila Rose.
“BREAKING: At the request of abortion activists, @Google has just BANNED all of @LiveAction’s pro-life ads, including those promoting the Abortion Pill Reversal treatment, a resource that has saved 2500 children to date…” Rose tweeted. She included a screenshot that showed Google flagged the ads for “medical misinformation” and “restricted medical content.” The company banned ads on the organization’s “Baby Olivia” video showing fetal development, claiming the video contained “unreliable claims” along with its life-saving ads for abortion pill reversal.
“The now-banned Abortion Pill Reversal ads had been approved by @Google & running for over 4 months, spending over $170,000 & directing 100s of moms to the abortion pill reversal hotline,” Rose wrote in a tweet. “Abortion activists knew the ads were making a difference, so they had Google shut them down.”
TikTok also appeared to retaliate against pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony (SBA) Pro-Life America. SBA Pro-Life America tweeted a screenshot indicating that the popular pro-life organization was suspended on June 24, the same day the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Roe v. Wade in its Dobbs v. Jackson ruling. The organization tweeted, “just a coincidence you banned us today, right @tiktok_us?”
SBA Pro-Life America told MRC researchers that it posted a video celebrating the overturning of Roe v. Wade the morning of the suspension. “When we went in a little later to post new content, our account was simply gone,” the organization said. “Zero communications from TikTok. Just blocked from even logging in.” After MRC researchers inquired about the suspension, TikTok restored the SBA Pro-Life America account. The platform did not inform MRC why the account was originally suspended. “The account was restored within a few minutes and is live on platform[sic],” TikTok claimed.
MRC researchers have documented 80 examples of Big Tech censoring content questioning the left’s narrative on climate change.
LinkedIn banned Gregory Wrightstone, a geologist, Executive Director of the CO2 Coalition and reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) after he posted two graphics showing decreasing CO2 levels. CO2 Coalition explained the graphics in a statement. “The posts were of two charts. One showed that carbon dioxide levels were nearly 6,000 parts per million (ppm) 600 million years ago when many animal life forms first appeared in the Cambrian Era. Another illustrated a 140-million-year decline of CO2 levels — from 2,500 parts per million (ppm) to the current 420 ppm.” According to purported screenshots of an email Wrightstone said he received from LinkedIn, the platform “permanently restricted” his account because he “violated the LinkedIn User Agreement and Professional Community Policies.”
Facebook also flagged a book review by The Wall Street Journal on the book”Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters” by former Undersecretary for the Dept. of Energy Steven Koonin. Facebook slapped a so-called fact check on the opinion piece, not because it misquoted the book or misrepresented its arguments but because the review supposedly “repeats multiple incorrect and misleading claims” from the book. Indeed, Climate Feedback’s alleged fact-check article used The Journal‘s review as an opportunity to attack Koonin’s book with counterarguments and its own review of the book.
MRC Free Speech America Associate Editor Joseph Vazquez, Senior Analyst Heather Moon and former Researcher and Video Creator Paiten Iselin 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 so-called hate speech and 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.