Is Big Tech interfering in the 2020 election? If so, tech companies did not start with the suppression of The New York Post‘s Hunter Biden bombshell story last week — although that act was arguably the most egregious.
Facebook and Twitter have censored President Donald Trump or his reelection campaign 65 times but have not censored Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his campaign a single time, according to a new report from the Media Research Center’s (MRC) Techwatch.
Techwatch analyzed two years of social media posts from Trump, Biden, and their respective campaigns, between May 2018 and October 16, 2020. The analysis did not include any ads from political action committees (PACs) or super PACs in support of Trump or Biden. It also focused on social media posts, not paid advertisements, from the campaigns.
Twitter labeled, fact-checked, and removed tweets from the president and his campaign 64 times since Trump’s election in 2016. The company appears to have ramped into high gear this past May.
Twitter put “public interest” notices on Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting, COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter protests. The company deleted a satirical video retweeted by the president following a fact-check from the Poynter Institute’s PolitiFact. The company also deleted three Trump tweets about hydroxychloroquine on July 28, 2020.
Twitter has also cracked down on memes that Trump tweeted or retweeted. The company removed a meme from his June 30 tweet showing the president saying, “In reality, they’re not after me. They’re after you.” Logan Cook, a meme creator who goes by the handle Carpe Donktum, made a video mocking the Democrats’ reaction to Trump’s 2019 State of the Union address. After Trump retweeted it, Twitter removed the video following a copyright complaint. Twitter also removed a Carpe Donktum video showing two toddlers hugging one another with fake CNN chyrons at the bottom after Trump retweeted it.
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In 2017, a Twitter employee deactivated Trump’s account on the employee’s last day at work, leaving the president’s account offline for 11 minutes. The company put a “sensitive content” filter on top of two Trump tweets featuring Drudge Report headlines in 2018.
According to the Daily Beast, Twitter has suspended nearly 10 percent of the unverified accounts Trump has retweeted since his inauguration. “Twitter’s always been fair to me, until the president of the United States retweeted me,” one user told the Daily Beast.
The Trump campaign’s accounts have also faced censorship on Twitter. The platform removed four of Team Trump’s videos and it suspended the Team Trump account for sharing the Hunter Biden story.
Twitter executives have a documented bias against the president.
The company has also taken actions seemingly to protect Biden. It placed a “sensitive content” label on the video of Joe Biden telling Charlemagne tha God that he “ain’t black” if he doesn’t support Biden over Trump.
Facebook has censored Trump and his campaign five times and Instagram removed one video.
Facebook removed a video attacking antifa from Trump’s personal page and his campaign’s page, claiming the video violated the platform’s “organized hate policy” by featuring an upside-down red triangle.
Facebook also moved to suppress the Hunter Biden story even before a fact-checker could address its claims.
Also according to MRC, Twitter and Facebook employees have given over 90 percent of their political contributions to Democrats so far in 2020.
While some of Trump’s tweets and retweets arguably took Biden’s quotes out of context, it still seems remarkable that Facebook and Twitter have acted against Trump and occasionally for Biden. On Friday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) filed an FEC complaint, accusing Twitter of giving an “in-kind contribution” to the Biden campaign in censoring the Hunter Biden story. Perhaps the RNC should consider a few other examples, as well.
Neither Facebook nor Twitter responded to PJ Media’s requests for comment.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.