New study documents stealth suppression of conservative expression by social media giants

by WorldTribune Staff, April 17, 2018

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Google are makeing a “clear effort to censor the conservative worldview from the public conversation,” according to a new study.

The Media Research Center (MRC) study said the social media and tech giants “have declared war on the conservative movement” and “conservatives are losing – badly.”

If “the right doesn’t fight,” states the report, “it is doomed – online and off. This is more than just a free speech battle. It is a struggle for the future of our nation and our world.”

In the MRC’s 50-page report, “CENSORED! How Online Media Companies Are Suppressing Conservative Speech”, authors Ashley Rae Goldenberg and Dan Gainor cite numerous case studies of the suppression of conservative viewpoints.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google rely on the left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to identify “hate” groups and then suppress or remove them from its platform, the report said, noting that “over time, Facebook deleted the pages of at least 57 groups at the behest of the SPLC.”

YouTube, the MRC report said, “censors conservatives and conservative content,” is always on the watch for “hate speech” and relies on the SPLC as a “Trusted Flagger” to tag videos that violate content standards.

PragerU, which posts videos on conservative topics, saw its videos restricted by YouTube. PragerU is now suing YouTube.

The MRC report said that “Google has suppressed conservative points-of-view within the company and in its own search results.”

For instance, three separate studies have confirmed that search engine results on Google “favored liberal sites or liberal candidates during the 2016 presidential election,” said the report. For awhile (since discontinued), Google “posted fact-checks of conservative sites but not their liberal counterparts,” according to the MRC report, “making the conservative sites appear less reliable.”

After Google engineer James Damore wrote an internal memo criticizing the company’s “Ideological Echo Chamber,” he was fired.

“Voices are being silenced, opinions are being censored and conservative media are being suppressed,” MRC President Brent Bozell said in a statement.  “These tech companies claim they provide platforms to connect people and share ideas. However, when the only ideas permitted are from one side, any prospect of intellectual discourse dies.”

Twitter “leads in censorship” as it “regularly suppresses conservative points-of-view,” the report said.

The report notes that Twitter staffers admitted on hidden camera that they censor conservatives through “shadow banning.” With this technique, Twitter users “think their content is getting seen widely, but it’s not.”

The MRC report added that Twitter “also restricts pro-life ads from Live Action and even Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tennessee Republican), but allows Planned Parenthood advertisements.”

The MRC report noted that Facebook employees “donated overwhelmingly to support Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign over Donald Trump’s” and “even lobbied to remove Trump’s posts for violating the site’s ‘hate speech’ standards.”

Other examples of TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and Google suppressing content posted by conservatives are detailed in 35 pages of appendices in the MRC’s report.

“If these platforms merely serve as an echo chamber of liberal talking points, everyone loses,” Bozell said. “Our country is divided and limiting free speech only makes matters worse.”

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