Conservative radio and Fox News host Mark Levin says Facebook is censoring his content. “Facebook has just sent us this message. It’s a clear effort at censorship,” Levin wrote on his Facebook page Monday morning. “Every link I post is from a legitimate source. But because so many people are seeing what I’m posting and we’re within weeks of the election it’s clear that Facebook is trying to influence the election’s outcome. It’s also clear Facebook is pushing a leftwing agenda. I’ll address this tonight on radio.”
Twitter guru, actor James Woods, is regularly banned from Twitter for being a political commentator. Woods was suspended from Twitter for 24 hours for being retweeted by President Trump.
Even President Donald Trump was censored by Twitter Tuesday morning for this post:
Flu season is coming up! Many people every year, sometimes over 100,000, and despite the Vaccine, die from the Flu. Are we going to close down our Country? No, we have learned to live with it, just like we are learning to live with Covid, in most populations far less lethal!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 6, 2020
Twitter censored Trump’s Tweet, claiming that it was “spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19.”
Here is what shows on Twitter:
But the shadow banning and censorship is now impacting political campaigns.
Conservative Republican Candidates Censored and Shadow Banned
Conservative and Republican candidates report being censored and shadow banned by social media. According to a new complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice by Aja Smith, Candidate for California’s 41st Congressional District, Facebook, Twitter and Google “have all engaged in banning unfavored political candidates, while their opponents are provided with the valuable services of the companies for free.”
Smith alleges she is being “shadow banned,” the nefarious practice of secretly blocking or partially blocking political candidates.
But Aja Smith is fighting back. She announced on Tuesday she filed a complaint against Facebook, Twitter and Google for allegedly providing illegal corporate contributions to federal political campaigns. In the complaint filed with Attorney General Bill Barr and the Department of Justice, Smith claims that under the Federal Election Campaign Act, “anything of value given to influence a federal election is considered a contribution for purposes of the Act.”
The complaint also alleges the companies engage in “shadow banning.”
Buzz Patterson, candidate for California’s 7th Congressional District told the Globe he and his campaign have been censored and noticed shadow banning. Patterson has 114,100 Twitter followers, but few retweeted posts.
Eric Early, candidate for California’s 28th Congressional District says it appears Facebook has limited his followers at 23,000. On Twitter, Early has 84,800 followers, but his Tweets don’t get retweeted as much as they should.
“As a Black Conservative, United States Air Force Veteran and candidate for California’s 41st Congressional District, I can attest that there is ample evidence that I am a victim of this illegal behavior by the companies,” said Smith. “For example, on Twitter, I have over 41,000 followers and I am specifically followed by over 10,000 users, but many of my posts receive minimal interaction, in the single digits.”
Smith told the Globe she has noticed a pattern with Conservative minority candidates being targeted by algorithms written by social media companies. Smith named candidates Tamika Hamilton, Joe Collins, Errol Weber – “all targeted, and all black conservatives running for Congress in California.”
“As a veteran, black female Republican – we are defying and debunking the far left narrative,” Smith said. “We’ve worked so hard, and tried to raise money. But it costs money to raise money.”
Aja Smith said she was the number one small donation candidate in the country, “but it got no traction.” She said if she was a Democrat, this would have been front page news. “What’s the use of having a verified account as a congressional candidate?”
“My campaign has the highest percentage of small donors of any campaign nationally,” Smith said. “My campaign depends on me being able to communicate to my supporters freely. The illegal behavior by the companies has real consequences, limiting my ability while providing a boost to my opponent.”
Smith said the services provided by the companies have a tangible value, as advertising and promoting posts provide the principle means of revenue for the companies. “Thus, the prominence of content on the sites has real monetary value.”
Under the Federal Election Campaign Act, “anything of value given to influence a federal election” is considered a contribution for purposes of the Act:
“A gift, subscription, loan, advance or deposit of money or anything of value given to influence a federal election; or the payment by any person of compensation for the personal services of another person if those services are rendered without charge to a political committee for any purpose.” 11 CFR 100.52(a) and 100.54
“With only weeks to go before the election, it is imperative that the illegal behavior by the companies be investigated and ended immediately,” Smith said. “The companies are abusing their monopoly in the market to illegally support favored candidates and influence the outcome of elections.”