As Holy Week, Easter and Passover are upon us, it’s crucial to remember what a blessing it is to live in a country with First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion. But aggressive censorship of religious speech online made it clear that Big Tech is intent on memory-holing those rights in order to prop up its anti-God agenda.
MRC Free Speech America and CensorTrack researchers analyzed cases from September 2020 to March 2023 where Big Tech censored Christians and the Jewish people for either sharing their faith or calling attention to persecution from.The results were damning. Big Tech reportedly removed an accurately filmed reenactment of the crucifixion claiming it had “no discernible benefit to users.” Big Tech giants have gone as far as to fact-check the Lord’s Prayer and censor key tenants of the Judeo-Christian worldview and faiths. Here are seven of the worst instances.
- YouTube removed a video because it showed ‘tragic’ crucifixion reenactment. YouTube and Facebook both censored an Easter video ad put out by Crossroads Church, which included reenactments of Jesus’ crucifixion. Then Crossroads’ community pastor Kyle Ranson explained the incident in a blog post. “Part of the language YouTube used to reject our video was, ‘Appearing to profit from a tragic event with no discernible benefit to users,’” he wrote. “I am thankful Facebook and YouTube saw and called out what so many seem to miss: the cost of grace was offensively high: the violent taking of the very life of the Son of God. Nothing has ever cost more,” he added.
- Twitter locked account of Catholic bishop responding to evil of euthanasia. In February 2021, Twitter locked Catholic Bishop Kevin Doran out of his account. Doran tweeted in protest of the pending Irish “Dying with Dignity Bill” which would have legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide in the Republic of Ireland. “There is dignity in dying,” Doran tweeted according to screenshots tweeted by Irish journalist David Quinn. “As a priest, I am privileged to witness it often. Assisted suicide, where it is practiced, is not an expression of freedom or dignity, but of the failure of a society to accompany people on their ‘way of the cross.'” Twitter removed the tweet and rejected Bishop Doran’s appeal claiming that it violated it’s “rules against promoting or encouraging suicide or self-harm,” according to the screenshots.
- Speaking Truth in love? Twitter placed a sensitive filter over Tim Tebow’s faith-based video. The platform also placed a sensitive content filter over a video posted by former NFL quarterback and prominent Christian Tim Tebow in September 2020. The video showed Tebow discussing the importance of speaking the truth in love. “A lot of people will talk about love and truth,” he said, “but it’s so important because as believers, we have to be able to understand how to share both of them.” Twitter’s interstitial which claims the video “includes potentially sensitive content” remains on the tweet two and a half years later.
- YouTube suspended LifeSite News co-founder for his Catholic views on homosexuality. YouTube suspended LifeSite co-founder and Editor-in-Chief John-Henry Westen‘s channel last month, according to screenshots included in a LifeSite report. The platform claimed Weston’s video criticizing the movie Everything Everywhere All at Once for its depictions of homosexuality and Catholicism violated YouTube’s “hate speech” policy. Weston objected to YouTube labeling the video as hateful. “[W]e were banned for violating their ‘hate speech’ policy even though our approach to LGBT issues has always been about love – loving people in those homosexual relationships enough to tell them that the sexual behavior they are engaged in is harmful to their bodies and ultimately their souls,” he said. Weston told MRC Free Speech America yesterday that the platform has now banned his account entirely.
- Instagram fact-checked the Lord’s Prayer two years in a row. Instagram censored the Lord’s Prayer not once, but twice. In April 2021, a small Instagram page called Digital Prayer Book posted a painting of a church and its grounds that was captioned with only The Lord’s Prayer. However, the words “The Lord’s Prayer” and the prayer itself triggered Instagram’s fact-checking algorithm which placed an interstitial over the post and attached an AFP fact-check article entitled “Facebook dismisses hoax that it has ‘banned’ users from sharing the Lord’s Prayer.” A similar event happened to the Catholic Prayer Vault account with a USA Today fact-check in October 2022.
- Facebook banned a page praying for Israel and gave it no opportunity to appeal. The New York Post reported in 2021 that Facebook removed the pro-Israel Facebook page “Jerusalem Prayer Team.” The platform told the Post that it removed the page “’for violating [Facebook’s] rules against spam and inauthentic behavior.’” When the page attempted to appeal its removal from the platform, Facebook reportedly replied that the case was “complete,” adding that the page was “deleted by [Facebook’s] system due to being not Policy Compliant,” according to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). “’Since you are unable to access the Page, this means that appealing is no longer an option. There’s no further action that we can take for these Pages. Please consider this decision final.’” Mike Evans, the page’s founder who was leading thousands in daily online prayers for Israel, told media outlets that the page’s takedown resulted from a direct campaign to get it banned. The page, which was established in 2002, had nearly 77 million followers at the time of its removal.
- Instagram removed a trailer for a documentary series on fighting antisemitism. Yair Rosenberg, Senior Writer for Tablet magazine, worked with the organization Jewish Unpacked (now called Unpacked) to create a seven-part educational video series on antisemitism and how to fight against it. Rosenberg tweeted that Instagram removed the trailer for the series. “Folks, Instagram took down the trailer for my antisemitism video series because (get this) it contains instances of Jews recounting their experiences of antisemitism,” Rosenberg wrote in a since-deleted tweet. “Platforms continue to confuse people reporting on and raising awareness about bigotry with the bigotry itself.” Instagram claimed the video went against the platform’s “Community Guidelines” on “violence or dangerous organization,” according to a screenshot tweeted by then-Unpacked publisherJohnny Kunza
Other Christian and Jewish individuals and groups affected by Big Tech censorship include:
Christian Media organizations: The Christian Post, EWTN Español, TAN Books, Catholic World Report, Church Militant, Catholic Connect, Sensus Fidelium and Restoring The Faith Media.
Christian service organizations: Pro-life Action League, Aid to the Church in Need, God’s Food Pantry, GiveSendGo and The Catholic League.
Christian and Jewish faith leaders: Fr. Joseph Krupp, Abbot Tryphon, Pastor Joey Vazquez Jr., Pastor John MacArthur, Pastor Mark Driscoll, Pastor Henry Hildebrandt, Franklin Graham, TB Joshua, Bill Muehlenberg, Eric Metaxas, Rabbi Akiva Pollack and Rabbi Joseph Kolakowski.
Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.