Worst Censorship of May: Big Tech Targets Candidates and Hamas Critics

June 7th, 2024 6:08 PM

As some Americans celebrated the end of the school year in May, many social media users unfortunately graduated from Big Tech’s school of censorship.

Google, Meta, X and TikTok all continued to engage in censorship this month, with election interference as one notable area of anti-free speech activity. Big Tech also went after users bashing terrorist group Hamas or the left’s “transgender” ideology. From famous names like former President Donald Trump down to ordinary users, Big Tech platforms went all in on censorship this past month.

Below are some of the worst examples of censorship documented in MRC’s unique CensorTrack database for the month of May.

1) Google and Meta target President Joe Biden’s main election opponents. Big Tech targeted both GOP candidate Trump and Independent candidate Robert Kennedy, Jr. for censorship this month with Google censoring a Trump ad and Instagram censoring those who try to share a link to a “Who is Bobby Kennedy” documentary. 

Andrew Arenge, who runs the University of Pennsylvania Program on Opinion Research and Election Studies, posted on X that Google repeatedly censored a Trump ad scheduled to run May 1-3. The ad showed a fictional phone call between a Biden campaign aid and a voter highlighting Biden policies that hurt Americans, including inflation and illegal immigration. “Things were better before Biden, I’m voting for Trump!” the ad’s voter ends. Arenge provided screenshots from the Google Ad libraryshowing that Google removed the Trump ad for an alleged unspecified “policy violation.” After the campaign appealed Google’s decision and several popular X users condemned the election interference, Google reversed its censorship. The company later told MRC Free Speech America, “This enforcement decision was made in error.”

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. posted the “Who is Bobby Kennedy” documentary on Facebook after it had previously been released on YouTube and WhoIsBobbyKennedy.com. The documentarytravels through Kennedy's career and family legacy. The presidential candidate uploaded the video directly to Facebook but users who tried to share the video link to WhoIsBobbyKennedy.com on Facebook or on their Instagram stories were not able to.

Instagram claimed the link "may be malicious" according to screenshots of error censorship notices included in a video that Kennedy posted on TikTok. Another notice stated, “We restrict certain activity to protect our community.” Users who tried to edit posts were notified that “Posts that look like spam according to our Community Guidelines are blocked on Facebook and can't be edited.” 

Facebook users who tried to share the WhoIsBobbyKennedy.com link also had their links flagged for spam and as a result could not post the video. “Your post couldn't be shared, because this link goes against our Community Standards,” screenshots of the error message said. 

Meta has since corrected the issues on both of its platforms.

2) X and CCP-tied TikTok censor users decrying Hamas and its supporters. X and TikTok also censored multiple individuals apparently for condemning Islamic terrorist group Hamas, which is engaged in an ongoing conflict with Israel. X user Proper Mike posted a screenshot showing how TikTok removed a comment he had made on a video. “Are you holding hamas to any account?” he wrote under the video. The user appealed the censorship and TikTok replied, “It was determined that your content violates our community standards and cannot be restored.” The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) owns a board seat and maintains a financial stake in TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.

Parents Defending Education President Nicki Neily was flagged by X and given limited visibility over alleged “Violent Speech.” She posted an image showing the five Americans being held hostage by Hamas who were featured on the cover of Washington Examiner's May 14 print edition. She captioned the censored post, “Bring them home and destroy Hamas.” X also limited a post from an account with the user name “What?” for a similar reason. “Israel needs to wipe out Hamas. The United States needs to let them do it. End of story,” the user’s post read. X Community Notes fact-checked Donald Trump Jr. when he mocked anti-Israel students who graffitied “FREE PALASTINE” on a flight of stairs. Trump seemed to identify the protestors as being Columbia University students, but they were reportedly from Ottawa, Canada.

3) Google-owned YouTube is still cracking down on Covid-19 information. YouTube removed an episode of The Life Stylist Podcast where host Luke Storey interviewed Dr. Peter McCullough, a world-renowned cardiologist and prominent critic of the COVID-19 vaccines. The episode, “Detoxing Vaccines, Spike Protein Shedding & Ending Medical Tyranny,” featured a discussion of how the COVID-19 pandemic response was mishandled. YouTube removed the video, asserting that “This video has been removed for violating YouTube's Community Guidelines." The platform did not clarify its exact reasoning.

4) Big Tech runs cover for transgender ideology. Several tech platforms targeted users for critiquing transgenderism. TikTok censoredan account called GrassrootsArmy, the same name as user Garrett Soldano's podcast, when it posted a video captioned with the text, “Teacher settles $360,000 lawsuit with school, who fired her for REFUSING to lie to parents when their child wants to be treated as a different gender at school. Jessica Tapia we salute you! #GrassrootsArmy.” TikTok claimed the video violated its “Hate Speech and Hateful Behaviors” policy, according to purported screenshot shared by Soldano on X. 

perpetrated similar censorship yet again against the account with the username “What?”In an X post the user wrote, “I don't self identify as anything. According to facts and biology, I'm a woman. Cis is a stupid, nonsensical slur against people who are heterosexual.” X limited the visibility of her post for alleged “Hateful Conduct.” Not to be outdone, Facebook reportedly removed a post from the user Dan Alex. “'Trans' isn't a thing,” he said. “It's people with mental illness that needs to be addressed. We need to stop treating mental illness like it's a good thing.” 

5) YouTube censors speech on globalist plan.Dutch conservative commentator Eva Vlaardingerbroek shared a purported screenshot of a YouTube censorship notice on X. YouTube issued a warning and removed her CPAC Hungary 2024 speech, “The Great Replacement is not a theory - it's reality.” The platform claimed the video violated the its “hate speech policy,” according to Vlaardingerbroek’s screenshot. MRC Free Speech America’s CensorTrack database noted the following day that YouTube had restored Vlaardingerbroek’s video, but added a warning label. The label cautions users about “The Great Replacement.”  Linking to a Wikipedia entry, the label claimed that “The Great Replacement, also known as replacement theory or great replacement theory, is a white nationalist far-right conspiracy theory espoused by French author Renaud Camus.”

6) Chinese-owned TikTok targets Republican candidate. TikTok censored an account called @thepoliticallens that posts video clips from political candidates detailing their stances on key issues, according to screenshots online. TikTok deleted a video taking a look at Indiana State congressional candidate Brian Savilla.  “Brian Savilla, a Republican candidate for Indiana House of Representatives District 69, discusses his efforts to raise awareness about election integrity issues,” the caption on the video read. “He highlights Democratic initiatives aimed at undermining election safeguards, such as same-day voter registration, mail-in ballots, and opposition to voter ID laws. Despite knowing his campaign would likely be unsuccessful, Savilla aimed to inform voters about these concerns, emphasizing the importance of maintaining election safeguards to prevent fraud.” The channel’s operator shared screenshots apparently showing that TikTok removed the video, as it was “Not Public or Deleted.”