Comment. In the past few months, social media giants Facebook and Twitter have adopted increasingly restrictive censoring policies towards Catholic media outlets. One by one, traditional Catholic websites, Facebook pages, comments on Twitter, and YouTube videos, are being brazenly censored by the oh-so-politically-correct secular world that we are calling “Big Tech”, for want of a better word. Any statement that does no more than expound the 2.000 year old Catholic Christian message that Big Tech dislikes -because it happens to run contrary to their lying twisted world agenda’s pro-death message – is being obliterated.
Today it is the turn of pro-life Catholic blog, “LifeSiteNews”, to suffer the axe. They say:
“Our Banishment is Complete
As the unprecedented censorship of truth runs rampant, we continue to be censored and banished by merciless Big Tech tyrants who are determined to silence free speech of people seeking truth – just like you.
The most recent adversary is Facebook – who with absolutely NO warning this week – flagged one of our posts about COVID-19 as “going against community standards,” and then immediately shut down our entire page. This is not just “strike one” – there is no chance for recourse. LifeSiteNews has been obliterated from Facebook for good.
No warning. No discussion. No appeal. Just the iron fist of Big Tech.
This completes our banishment from nearly every mainstream social media outlet: YouTube, Twitter, Google Analytics, and now Facebook. For a long time, these outlets were major drivers of traffic to our news site, which is how we became such a threat (even Tucker Carlson took note of our ban from Facebook this week!).”
But this very popular orthodox Catholic website is not giving up the fight for its rights, and as LifeSiteNews (For life, faith, family, and freedom) Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, John-Henry Westen, tells us:
“Over the last few months, we have focused our efforts on breaking free from Big Tech completely so that we can continue to produce and bring you the highest quality life and family news.
To accomplish this, we have had to expand to alternative social media and video platforms, and invest in our own website capabilities in order to continue to reach the nearly 50 million people who rely on LifeSite as their go-to news source.
This shift away from Big Tech will ultimately cost us tens of thousands of dollars each month as we build, host, produce, and market our content on our website and a variety of other platforms. Please consider a monthly donation as we incur additional monthly expenses.”
From the Catholic Telegraph a year ago:
“American pro-life advocates have voiced concern about protections for their free speech, and at least one member of the oversight board has links to a group that halted a pro-life billboard campaign in Kenya.
“Facebook is a place where many people exchange ideas and share their lives,” Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, said May 18. “The policies of Facebook should mirror broader society, in which speech that does not incite violence is embraced. It’s ironic that pro-life speech is ever censored considering that we advocate against the violence of abortion and for women and their pre-born children.”
In Hawkins’ view, there is a bias in favor of abortion on most platforms.”
By Philip Lawler on Catholic Culture:
Prepare to be cancelled
The ominous trend toward censorship, in the news and especially in the social media, is now unmistakably clear. At this point the question is when—not whether—Christian voices will be silenced.
Unless, of course, we can do something to reverse the trend.
In the digital era, information is king. If you control access to information—and can choke off access to information that you dislike—you can consolidate rule of the world. How can skeptics challenge you, if they never receive accurate information about what you are doing? How can your opponents organize, if they lack any way to contact like-minded people?
To cite just a couple of egregious cases:
- A respected social scientist, the president of a Washington think-tank, learns that his book on the “transgender” movement has been banned by Amazon. The author, Ryan Anderson, has received no explanation for the move; presumably some Amazon employee, acting behind a veil of anonymity, was offended by his views. (BTW Amazon continues to sell Mein Kampf.) Anderson remarks:
- If you fear what Big Tech can do if you dissent from gender ideology, just wait to see what Big Government will do if the so-called Equality Act becomes law. Second, a lesson: If you fear Big Government, don’t turn a blind eye to Big Tech.
- An An Irish Catholic bishop is blocked by Twitter because of a comment opposing assisted suicide. Twitter offered the ridiculous explanation that Bishop Kevin Doran had violated its policy against promoting suicide. Eventually Twitter recognized the blunder and restored the bishop’s account. But again a faceless employee had censored an important voice.
Amazon, Twitter, Facebook, and Google form the unassailable elite of the internet, and all four of those powerful corporations are increasingly prone to censorship of opinions their leaders consider misguided. But who guides the censors?
Then Lawler gives us a few alternatives open to us in this fight against Big Tech and asks us to make some of our own suggestions.
- Protest the “cancel culture.” Make it difficult for would-be censors to shut down respectable voices. Expose them. Ridicule them.
- Press for government action to protect free speech on the internet. Since liberal politicians have generally made common cause with the tech giants, their opponents should make censorship a prominent campaign issue.
- Create alternative services. I know that there are already several alternatives to Facebook and Twitter, and I wish them well. But realistically, they are not likely to rival the power of the giants in the near future. And do we have any guarantee that the upstart services, if they attained a large following, would not be tempted by the same arrogance of power?
- Control our own sites. Facebook censors can block posts on Facebook, but they cannot edit posts on independent sites (such as CatholicCulture.org). Individual blogs are beyond their immediate control; they cannot censor what they cannot see. Even if censorship advances across the web, old email-distribution lists can keep discussions going. Think of that possibility as high-tech samizdat. And don’t dismiss it! Build your own email lists now.
- Above all, however, we need technical experts with the genius and the inclination necessary to design new ways for us to interact, free of meddlesome third parties. The internet was designed to make secure communication possible. Shouldn’t it be possible for us to control which sites we see, which opinions we encounter, which information we access?
Meanwhile, as we wait and hope for a technical solution, I suggest that we should not willingly withdraw from the battle over public opinion. Let’s not make the mistake of censoring ourselves, just to avoid being censored by others. If we are going to be silenced—and that issue is not yet settled—let’s go down fighting.
Yet, come what may, let us never forget Our Lord’s commission to us:
“Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).