“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution passed by Congress September 25, 1789. Ratified December 15, 1791.
One of the foremost American ideals is freedom of speech. But our freedom of speech is being taken away by big tech companies. Social media is now part of American daily life, but our freedom of speech on these platforms is becoming more and more limited.
During what was already a challenging year, we watched as Facebook started putting “warnings on misleading posts” and fact-checking boxes on posts. Twitter started hiding tweets by President Trump behind a message reading, “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about an election or other civic process.”
At one point, even My Patriot Supply was blocked from being able to post on Facebook about emergency preparedness for whatever the reason. Maybe it was because our company has the word “patriot” in its name and AI didn’t approve of that.
Back in 2018, the Pew Research Center surveyed the public’s attitudes towards technology companies. In 2018, they found, “72% of the public thinks it likely that social media platforms actively censor political views that those companies find objectionable.” That was before tech companies started actively posting warnings on conservative posts in 2020. Since the presidential election, a much larger percentage of Americans believe social media platforms censor political views. As a result of the amount of power big tech has in the political arena, many Americans fear we are headed to a technocracy rather than a constitutional republic.
Here are just a few examples of how big tech companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, have blocked information and decided themselves what people can and cannot see.
- On December 9, just days before press time, YouTube announced it would remove videos that question the integrity of the U.S. presidential election.
- In October, Facebook and Twitter blocked The New York Post’s account after it published the Hunter Files, including an article indicating that Hunter Biden introduced Joe Biden to a Ukrainian businessman.
- The hashtag #SaveTheChildren was temporarily blocked on Facebook in August. Searches for the hashtag came back with a message that said that this hashtag was “temporarily hidden” because it went against the social media site’s “community standards.”
- Popular comedian JP Sears pokes fun at wellness trends and has gained a massive following on YouTube and Facebook. In 2020, Sears was censored on YouTube for “spreading unfounded conspiracy theories.” He responded on Facebook to his YouTube censorship by saying, “YouTube has been censoring doctors, banning videos that speak about medicine and health from perspectives that aren’t calibrated into the orchestrated mainstream narrative. Last night they put duct tape over my mouth, banning my most recent video.”
- According to a Republican Staff Report, Committee on the Judiciary U.S. House of Representatives, titled Reining in Big Tech’s Censorship of Conservatives, “Perhaps the most prominent example of Twitter’s mistreatment of certain views and speakers occurred in summer 2018. In July, Twitter temporarily ‘shadow-banned’ prominent Republicans. These Republicans included Ranking Member Jim Jordan, Representative Matt Gaetz, Representative Devin Nunes, and former Representative Mark Meadows.”
- It’s not just political censorship. YouTube frequently bans (or censors) cryptocurrency content and popular crypto content creators.
The alarming amount of censorship performed by big tech even led to President Trump writing an Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship. Here is a portion of the executive order:
“The growth of online platforms in recent years raises important questions about applying the ideals of the First Amendment to modern communications technology. Today, many Americans follow the news, stay in touch with friends and family, and share their views on current events through social media and other online platforms. As a result, these platforms function in many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see. […]
Online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse. Tens of thousands of Americans have reported, among other troubling behaviors, online platforms ‘flagging’ content as inappropriate, even though it does not violate any stated terms of service; making unannounced and unexplained changes to company policies that have the effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints; and deleting content and entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse.”
And on December 9 – again just days before press time – the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General Letitia James announced antitrust lawsuits against Facebook. Specifically, federal regulators have asked Facebook to divest its Instagram and WhatsApp services, accusing Facebook of “anti-competitive conduct and using its market dominance to harvest consumer data and reap a fortune in advertising revenues.”
When social platforms censor ideas
Why is this happening? To be blunt, there is a clear liberal bias. According to The New York Post, fed-up social media employees post anonymously to the website Blind. On this site, one Facebook employee wrote, “[Facebook] employees want Trump to lose […] If that means rigging [the platform] against him, they don’t care.” The Blind post garnered 29 “likes” from other employees.
Essentially, the same type of content is allowed to be posted by people who are left-leaning, but is blocked or banned by those who are right-leaning. According to the Facebook employee who spoke with The New York Post, “If you’re left-wing, you can say what you want. But if you’re conservative — or even just apolitical — you have to go on this anonymous app [Blind] to speak your mind.”
For example, The Christian Post reports that “the pro-life group Live Action, who spoke at the White House summit on big tech and social media censorship last year […] had not only been barred from doing any advertising on Twitter, but their accounts had been periodically shut down for espousing pro-life views.” Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is allowed to advertise and post to the site.
Moreover, Twitter allows pornography and the hashtag #killalljews.
Censorship on social media platforms occurs when we don’t even realize it is happening. For example, many people are shadowbanned. Merriam-Webster explains, “Shadowban is meant as a contrast with ban, an action that is usually imparted decisively and without secrecy. When a user is banned from Twitter, for example, their account is suspended and the user cannot tweet, reply, retweet, or otherwise engage with other users’ posts. In most instances, a banned user is made aware that they’ve been banned from the service. Shadowban adds to that concept the notion of such an action taking place without knowledge of the person being banned. In that case, the user’s account is still active, but is prevented from appearing in the feeds of other users.”
In other words, conservatives (or those with views in contrast to the platform’s) on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram may not get many responses (or likes/comments) on their posts because these posts are essentially hidden from others. Certain words or phrases, including “immune system,” can cause a post to be hidden from other people’s timelines. It is another form of censorship by big tech.
If censorship of topics around our personal health choices is already happening, it’s only a matter of time before content around “self-reliance” and “food sovereignty” get banned. Because the name of the game is control. And the last thing big tech (and let’s face it, our government) wants is for we the people to be independent, self-reliant, and have an opinion that’s different from what’s being dictated.
It’s vital not to wait until big tech begins cracking down on ideas important to the preparedness community to do something about it. Now is the time to voice our opinions, speak out, and protect our First Amendment rights. Now is the time to find alternatives so we may continue to share ideas on independence and how to protect ourselves and our families from a government that does not always have our best interests at heart.
Social platforms for the rest of us
The not-so-hidden censorship on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter has led many people to drop their accounts on these sites and find more welcoming social platforms. The one garnering the most attention is Parler.
According to CNET, “Parler has seen a wave of interest in the wake of the election. On Nov. 9, Parler racked up roughly 880,000 installs in the US from the Apple App Store and Google Play, the most downloads the app has seen in a single day, according to estimates from Sensor Tower, which analyzes mobile app data. From Nov. 3 to Nov. 9, Parler has been downloaded more than 2 million times in the US. The app has roughly 4.7 million installs in the states.”
Parler offers an ad-free and uncensored public square type platform. Many conservatives and Republican politicians are flocking to the free speech social network to regain some of the freedom they feel they have lost on other sites.
In addition to Parler, these other uncensored sites are worth checking out.
- LBRY – This is an alternative to YouTube, Instagram, and Spotify for content creators and content viewers without middlemen, censorship, or advertising.
- MeWe – An alt-tech social media site with no spyware, no ads, and limited content moderation. According to MeWe, “You have full control over your newsfeeds and the order of how posts appear. We do not manipulate, filter, or change the order of your newsfeeds.”
- Rumble – This video site defines itself as your rights management video platform. Host, distribute, and monetize all your professional, social, and viral videos.
Protect your freedoms, friends. Move to places where your voice can be heard. You never know when preparing for emergencies and encouraging a self-reliant lifestyle so you can be independent of the government will be next on the shadowban list.
Preparedness Advisor, My Patriot Supply