Big Tech has caused serious damage to President Donald Trump’s ability to be heard on social media.
Twitter and Facebook have censored the president’s social media accounts and the accounts belonging to his re-election campaign at least 65 times. In contrast, the companies have not censored former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his campaign accounts. At all.
Twitter composes the bulk of the problem, with 98 percent of all the instances of censorship. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Twitter has made the decision to censor major headlines about the Biden family, particularly when it came to the New York Post’s story about Hunter Biden’s dealings with Ukraine.
The Media Research Center’s Techwatch department analyzed two years of social media posts from Trump, Biden, and their respective campaigns. The analysis did not include any ads from PACs or super PACs that had made ads in favor of either candidate. It also focused on social media posts, not paid advertisements, from the campaigns. These numbers were collected from between May 2018 to October 16, 2020.
In addition, Twitter and Facebook employees have funneled money into Democrat campaigns. In a previous study released by MRC Business, the numbers showed that Facebook and Twitter had given over 90 percent of their political contributions to Democrats in 2020.
Twitter has been far and away the biggest offender, labeling, fact-checking, and removing Trump’s tweets and the tweets from his campaign accounts 64 times since the president’s election. Tweets about the president’s concern over mail-in voting, COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter protests have been given “public interest notices.”
Videos retweeted by the president depicting a satirical version of Biden walking on stage to the song “F*** Tha Police” have been deleted as well, after a fact-check from Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact. The actual video showed Biden playing the song "Despacito.”
Twitter fired first in the war between Trump and Big Tech when it completely deleted three tweets from the president on July 28, 2020. It removed tweets about the drug hydroxychloroquine.
Memes apparently are not allowed on the president’s account either. A meme showing Trump saying “in reality, they’re not after me. They’re after you” was removed from his June 30 tweet. Meme videos and meme creators who make pro-Trump content have suffered at the hands of Twitter. One instance is Carpe Donktum, the meme creator who made a video mocking the Democrats’ reaction to the 2019 State of the Union address. The video, retweeted by Trump, was removed after a copyright complaint. Donktum, whose real name is Logan Cook, was also removed in June 2020 after Trump had tweeted another one of his videos showing two toddlers hugging each other, with fake CNN chyrons at the bottom.
This censorship goes back as far as the beginning of the Trump presidency. A rogue Twitter employee in 2017 deactivated Trump’s account on his last day at work, leaving it offline for 11 minutes. Trump’s two tweets of Drudge headlines in 2018 were given the “sensitive content” filter over top of the tweets.
Users who have been retweeted by Trump play a game of censorship roulette as well. According to the Daily Beast, “Nearly 10 percent of the unverified accounts retweeted by President Trump since his inauguration are currently suspended from Twitter for various violations of the platform’s policies.” One user was quoted in the Daily Beast as saying, “Twitter’s always been fair to me, until the president of the United States retweeted me.” Seventeen accounts at least have been suspended since Trump’s inauguration.
The Trump campaign’s accounts have also been struck by censorship on Twitter. Team Trump has had four videos removed, including one that talked about pro-life policies. In addition, the Trump campaign was also suspended for sharing the controversial Hunter Biden emails story from the New York Post.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a speech given at Georgetown University on Oct. 17, 2019 that Facebook would “continue to stand for free expression.” But since then, Trump and the Trump campaign have been censored on the platform five times. Instagram, Facebook’s sister company, removed one video as well. Each time, the platform has made the statement that it opposes whatever Trump and the campaign have said or stood for.
A video attacking Antifa was removed from the platform, because it violated the platform’s “organized hate policy” for featuring an upside-down red triangle. The ad asked supporters “to sign a petition and "stand with your President and his decision to declare ANTIFA a Terrorist Organization.” The ad was removed from both the president’s page and his campaign’s page. However, multiple violent Antifa pages that have doxxed members of the Senate remain on the platform, unscathed.
Facebook fact-checkers, certified by the liberal Poynter Institute’s Independent Fact-Checking Network, also fact-checked a video that showed Biden saying, “We cannot win this re-election. Excuse me, we can only re-elect Donald Trump.” The video was labeled “partially false” and given an interstitial, or a filter, that suppressed the spread of the content on the platform.