Documenting Online Censorship

Illustrating the growing problem of viewpoint censorship on the internet, NRB has compiled a timeline with representative examples of suppression of Christian and conservative views on the internet. Although private corporations, such as those in this timeline, are not constrained by the First Amendment, most claim to affirm and even celebrate freedom of speech. NRB has called on these tech giants to afford their users nothing less than the free speech and free exercise of religion rights embodied in the First Amendment as interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court. The following timeline is not exhaustive, but merely representative. To view, click the image below or scroll through the timeline below. For a PDF of a vertical version of the timelines, click here.

IFW_Timeline

August 2018
PragerU announces that it is being “heavily censored” on Facebook after videos were blocked as “hate speech.” Facebook later apologized and restored the content.

Because it “related to politics or an issue of national importance,” Facebook denies an ad that Steven Solomon, a pastor and Army veteran, wished to use to promote his radio program that said, “Speak the truth, Love God, Defend America.”

Facebook suspends popular blogger Elizabeth Johnston (“The Activist Mommy”) for unspecified “hate speech.” Facebook later apologized and restored content it had removed.

July 2018
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) confirms that he filed an FEC complaint against Twitter due to an apparent shadow ban of his account. Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Mark Meadows (N.C.), and Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) were reportedly also so treated by Twitter.

June 2018
Facebook blocks Dr. Robert Gagnon, previously on the faculty of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, for criticizing a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation video that promoted homosexuality and nudity to young children.

May 2018
Amazon denies Alliance Defending Freedom access to its charitable AmazonSmile program based on a categorization of the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center.

April 2018
Just prior to Easter, Facebook rejects an ad from Franciscan University of Steubenville featuring the historic San Damiano Cross because it was deemed “shocking, sensational, or excessively violent.”

January 2018
Google’s YouTube flags and deletes the live stream of NRBTV for an unspecified Community Guidelines violation. YouTube also inflicts a three-month strike on NRBTV’s account.

November 2017
Twitter informs radio talk show host Erick Erickson that his tweet related to the debate about transgenderism “has been flagged for possible violations” of its “hateful conduct policy and/or German laws.”

October 2017
Twitter blocks a political ad Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) attempted to promote because it deemed her reference to Planned Parenthood’s documented “sale of baby body parts” to be “inflammatory.”

August 2017
Google’s YouTube demonetizes hundreds of videos produced by Dr. Michael Brown, host of Line of Fire radio show, and targets “controversial religious” content.

July 2017
Twitter blocks tweets and retweets of AT&T’s public policy blog expressing an opinion contrary to its own during a “Day of Action” supporting “common carrier” Title II federal regulation over internet service providers.

Facebook temporarily blocks more than 20 pages of Catholic organizations and individuals followed by millions worldwide.

May 2017
Twitter makes Live Action, a pro-life organization, ineligible to advertise on its platform until removal of “offensive” content.

March 2017
Citing disagreement with views expressed in four videos by Pure Passion TV on sexuality, Vimeo removes all 850 videos of the ministry and closes its account.

January 2017
Amazon denies D. James Kennedy Ministries access to its charitable AmazonSmile program based on a categorization of the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center.

October 2016
Prager University announces that Google’s YouTube is censoring many of its educational videos by placing them in “restricted mode,” which flags and prevents them from being accessed freely.

July 2016
Google’s YouTube temporarily blocks a Center for Security Policy video critical of the Muslim Brotherhood, jihad, and Sharia law.

May 2016
Gizmodo, a technology blog, reports evidence of Facebook workers censoring conservative content off of and injecting preferred articles into its influential trending news feed.

November 2015
Facebook blocks postings by Vanderbilt University professor, Dr. Carol Swain, for over 26 hours after liberal student activists organized complaints about her religious and moral viewpoints.

Google’s YouTube terminates account of Olive Tree Ministries after the ministry posted an interview about persecution of Christians in the Middle East. YouTube reinstated the account 3 days later after media inquiries.

August 2015
Facebook temporarily blocks user postings about a report on illegal immigration by the Center for Immigration Studies.

April 2015
Responding to pressure from complaints, GoFundMe deletes fundraising campaigns for Sweet Cakes by Melissa and Arlene’s Flowers — companies that had declined to provide services for same-sex weddings — and then changed its terms of service to support its decision.

October 2014
Twitter blocks users from linking to a petition supporting the Houston pastors whose sermons were subpoenaed by the city because the pastors supported a referendum against a gender-neutral restrooms ordinance.

April 2014
Citing a violation of its Community Standards, Facebook removes satirical post about immigration and Nevada rancher standoff by FOX’s Todd Starnes.

March 2014
Facebook temporarily bans evangelist Ray Comfort after he posts a photo of Westboro Baptist Church signs in an article in which Comfort encourages Christians to distance themselves from Westboro.

December 2013
Twitter blocks users from posting a link to a petition drive supporting Phil Robertson who had been suspended from the Duck Dynasty show by A&E after voicing his biblically-based views on homosexuality.

August 2013
Citing a violation of Community Standards regarding religion, Facebook temporarily blocks administrators of the Military with PTSD page.

Summer 2013
Citing a violation of its Community Standards, Facebook puts a 12-hour suspension on the page of a UNC-Wilmington professor making arguments against same-sex marriage.

July 2013
Citing a violation of its Community Standards because of a post which favorably mentioned the NRA, Chick-fil-A, Paula Deen, Cracker Barrel, the Gaithers, and the Gideon Bible, Facebook removes the post and temporarily blocks access to the account of Todd Starnes, host of FOX News & Commentary.

June 2013
Citing its policy against “excessively objectionable or crude content,” Apple removes from its App Store a Setting Captives Free app that promotes freedom from homosexuality.

March 2013
Citing “security concerns,” Facebook temporarily closes the page of an Israeli journalist after he posted criticism of the Palestinian Authority, restores the page 24 hours later, but deletes the article in question.

January 2013
Citing a violation of its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Facebook removes a post by Chicks on the Right that was critical of the White House press secretary.

Facebook threatens content control by issuing warnings or temporarily suspending bloggers’ accounts for alleged “spam” when bloggers simply shared content on multiple like-minded pages.

October 2012
Facebook removes a post critical of President Obama’s handling of the Benghazi attack and puts a 24-hour block on the account of Special Operations Speaks PAC.

July 2012

Facebook temporarily removes Gov. Mike Huckabee’s post in support of Chick-fil-A.

May 2012

Google’s YouTube pulls video of a youth minister who warned of the same-sex marriage movement in America.

November 2010
Apple removes Chuck Colson’s Manhattan Declaration from its iTunes App Store.