Big tech ‘secondhand censorship’ heavily blocks conservatives from specific information, study finds

Online censorship was responsible for 144 million+ examples of secondhand censorship on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Spotify in the first quarter of 2022 alone, according to a new study.

Conducted by the Media Research Center’s #FreeSpeechAmerica CensorTrack, the study looked at 172 confirmed cases of censorship and then extrapolated outward based on the number of people who were affected by the censorship.

For instance, two examples of censorship involving conservative commentator Dan Bongino occurred when YouTube censored his “posts on the efficacy of masks and COVID-19 twice in January,” according to CensorTrack.

Based on the number of Bongino’s followers, 882,495, CensorTrack extrapolated it out to 1,764,989 examples of secondhand censorship.

(Source: CensorTrack)

While these numbers may seem large, CensorTrack notes that they’re actually “massively understated.”

For example, even though Spotify removed roughly 70 episodes of Joe Rogan’s popular podcast, CensorTrack counted this as only one example of censorship, meaning the total secondhand censorship count was far lower.

“Rogan had an estimated 11 million regular podcast viewers at the time. Had all 70 episodes been counted, the secondhand censorship number would have totaled 770 million,” CensorTrack explains.

Also keep in mind that the 172 cases of confirmed censorship are also an undercount, as unverified cases were not included.

“If the thousands of cases around the country were all identified and verified, the total number would soar,” CensorTrack notes.

Speaking on Fox News’ “Fox News @ Night” late Wednesday, MRC president and founder Brent Bozell explained why this censorship is of such massive concern.

“Social media is the communications vehicle of the future whether we like it or not. The censorship of conservatives and Christians, and most especially conservative Christians, by big tech is a huge problem. It is enormous because it is affecting the public square in ways that has never happened in American history,” he said.

He also explained the purpose of specifically looking at “secondhand” censorship.

“So, how important is this? Those of us who have been looking at censorship have been looking at it from the standpoint of the producers. We’ve logged, we’ve verified about 4,000 cases that are confirmed examples of censorship. But we haven’t looked at it from the standpoint of the consumer. What’s the effect of that censorship?” he said.

CensorTrack makes a similar point.

“[W]hen Big Tech companies censor an account or its posts, every one of the censored account’s followers are unable to see the perspectives of the targeted account, or the account’s posts are obscured such that they’re suppressed and more difficult to view. The consequences of this ‘secondhand censorship’ are broad authoritarianism, mass thought-control and a restricted marketplace of ideas,” it notes.

Continuing his remarks on Fox News, Bozell argued that censorship is a partisan issue that primarily affects one side of the political aisle.

“When was the last time you heard a liberal complain about being censored? It just doesn’t happen. But conservatives across the spectrum are now being censored. Here’s the important thing, that number is minuscule, it just scratches the surface,” he said.

“We only looked at three months… we didn’t look at people who’ve already been censored… had we looked at cases of censorship before that three-month period, it would have been billons of pieces of information that have never reached the American people because of the censorship.”

He was actually wrong about this. Censorship tends to affect all dissenters of the establishment, including left-wing dissenters. That being said, most dissenters are admittedly right-wing. But not all of them.

Moreover, the loudest proponents of censorship are admittedly establishment liberals, whom Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald has frequently noted are in love with the idea of censoring critics and dissidents.

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Vivek Saxena

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