President Biden's political opponents have been censored by Big Tech "a whopping 162 times combined," according to the Media Research Center.
Media Research Center's CensorTrack.org researchers Heather Moon and Gabriela Pariseau conducted the study that found 169 cases of censorship against 2024 presidential hopefuls with only seven of the instances being against Biden himself, across Google, YouTube, Facebook, X, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn.
"The year 2024 has not yet begun, but election-interfering censorship is well underway as Big Tech companies have already censored every presidential candidate," Moon and Pariseau wrote.
"From censoring candidates' campaign websites, to fact checks, to removing content and accounts altogether, social media platforms have been hard at work interfering in the upcoming election and silencing the voices of those who seek to represent and lead the United States," they wrote. "Big Tech censorship impacted the accounts of all 23 candidates that MRC has been tracking regardless of party affiliation, but it has been particularly harmful for Biden's opponents."
The study found that Big Tech platforms have "manipulated the message of all 2024 presidential candidates at least once" and Vivek Ramaswamy has been censored 18 times to top the list.
"Of all the tech giants, Google censored Ramaswamy the most. Including not showing Ramaswamy's campaign website on the first page of its search results, Google's artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot Bard left him off its list when MRC researchers asked it to rank the 2024 presidential candidates."
Robert F. Kennedy Jr. was censored 17 times to finish second, with 15 of them coming when he was a Democrat and two after he switched to Independent. Nikki Haley faced censorship 14 times, Larry Elder 13 times, and former President Trump was censored nine times, according to the study.
"Trump created his own platform, Truth Social and isn't on the other platforms. And yet, he's still the fifth-most censored candidate," MRC president Brent Bozell said.
The study found Google "was responsible for the most wide-spread election interfering-censorship of presidential primary candidates" and that "Google-owned YouTube worked to interfere in the election with 37 cases that ranged from context labels to outright removal" of videos.
Google's search and YouTube are the biggest offenders when it comes to silencing Trump, according to the study. However, Republicans weren't the only ones censored by such companies.
"Biden's chief in-party rival Robert F. Kennedy Jr. received the brunt of the censorship on the Democratic side. Big Tech blistered Kennedy Jr. with censorship 15 times before he reclassified as an independent presidential candidate," Moon and Pariseau wrote, noting that seven of Kennedy's videos have been removed from YouTube.
Biden was censored seven times, according to the study. Other notable 2024 presidential hopefuls include Chris Christie, Ron DeSantis and Tim Scott, who were also censored seven times, according to the study.
While Biden's opponents were regularly censured, Elon Musk's X has clamped down on Biden.
The MRC found that X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, "tampered with presidential candidates' messages" through Community Notes.
"President Biden's content received 54 of these notes attached to his often wildly inaccurate posts, making him the most censored presidential candidate on the platform," Moon and Pariseau wrote.
"Former President Trump was next in line as the second most censored candidate on X," they continued. "While Trump has made only one post on X since returning to the platform, his campaign runs several X accounts. X's Community Notes censored those accounts at least 33 times."
Google, YouTube, Facebook, X, Instagram, LinkedIn and TikTok each censored at least one candidate one or more times. Google was the worst offender as it censored every candidate except Biden a combined total of 112 times, according to the study.
The MRC also found that Big Tech "censorship has harmed users of social media accounts 1,462,404,739 times through secondhand censorship of presidential candidates."
"When Big Tech censors a candidate it doesn't simply impact that candidate's account but also everyone who follows that candidate's account. The 169 cases of censorship, sans Community Notes, amount to 54,234,791 times Big Tech harmed users through secondhand censorship," Moon and Pariseau wrote. "However, Community Notes on X account for the vast majority of times users were affected by secondhand censorship, totaling 1,408,169,948 times X harmed users with its fact-checking system. After X, YouTube censorship impacted the most users through secondhand censorship, amounting to 30,993,922 times users were harmed by Big Tech's meddling."
Comment: Muddying the waters. A Community Note on X is intended to allow users to add what they feel might be missing context to the post it's appended to. The notes may support, disagree with, propagandize for or against the post. But Notes don't censor the post. A post with a CN is still available to be read; in Biden's case, in all their clown-shoes glory.
On X, the study found that economic issues were the most likely to be censored, while "posts about COVID-19 and vaccines, abortion and climate change were censored most frequently" on other platforms.
"Other topics censored included guns, education, race, crime, immigration, the left's radical 'transgender' ideology and discussion of previous elections," Moon and Pariseau wrote.
The MRC began tracking censorship of presidential candidates with the announcement of the first candidate, Republican Corey Stapleton, on Nov. 11, 2021, and checked each official account through Thanksgiving 2023.
"Meta-owned platforms Facebook and Instagram combined for a total of 11 fact checks and one disabled account. Additionally, there were five cases of X impeding candidate messaging, including cases of sensitive content filters, reduced distribution and even an account suspension," Moon and Pariseau wrote. "LinkedIn and TikTok were not innocent either, as both platforms censored at least one candidate.
Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A LinkedIn spokesperson told the MRC that the censorship to Ramaswamy's account was done "in error."
An X spokesperson provided the following statement:
"This research is framing Community Notes as Big Tech censorship, which is not accurate. The people of X have the power in Community Notes, not X. Community Notes is decentralized, the code is open-source, and data is public since its inception. The technology empowers individuals from our user community to contribute to the writing and rating of notes."MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider is sick of Big Tech putting a thumb on the scales as America gears up for the critical election.
"It's clear that if you are a presidential candidate, and you touch one of the left's sacred cows, Big Tech is going to come down on you like a ton of bricks," Schneider said.
Brian Flood is a media and culture editor/reporter. He joined FOX News Digital in 2017. He has previously covered media for Adweek's TVNewser and TheWrap. Prior to that, Brian covered sports for a variety of outlets, including CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated and NBC's Rotoworld.