Today we hear a lot of talk about censorship and being de-platformed. It's happening across the country as Big Tech tries to silence and even cancel messages and views from conservatives and Christians. It's causing some real and serious harm.
For decades LifeSiteNews has covered family, abortion, and culture with no issues on the Web and social media, piling up millions of clicks and views.
"We've been operating normally forever and forever," said John-Henry Westen of LifeSiteNews.com. "Our YouTube channel has 315,000 subscribers. We had millions of video views a week every week."
That's now falling to pieces as Big Tech cracks down on LifeSiteNews. After giving it three clear warnings, YouTube completely banned it in February for a COVID-related video featuring a Catholic bishop.
Westen pointed out, "All he said was that he wasn't going to take this COVID vaccine because it was abortion-tainted."
YouTube guidelines state, "YouTube doesn't allow content that spreads medical misinformation that contradicts local health authorities or the World Health Organization's medical information about COVID-19."
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Losing 315,000 Subscribers & Millions of Views
Google News has also booted LiteSiteNews.
"Now Google News was a big source of traffic for LifeSiteNews because it showed up on everybody's mobile phone. We have a lot of traffic from Google News," Westen explained. "We're off there now. Completely. No appeal process allowed," bemoaned Westen.
Views and clicks have fallen big time and so have donations.
"This has affected us in major, major ways," Westen confessed. "Losing an audience of 315,000 subscribers and literally millions of views per week is quite substantial."
Dan Gainor from his position at TechWatch and the Media Research Center sees de-platforming hurting tens of thousands because of how important the internet has become to folks.
"People shop and sell and go to church online," he said. "I get constantly bombarded, particularly by people on Facebook and Twitter, who have been censored, restricted. It harms their businesses. It harms churches and Christian groups. You build up an audience and then suddenly the rug is pulled out from under you and you can't reach your people."
Becoming Third-Class Citizens in an Online World
He shared, "We have a website – CensorTrack.org – that's got I think 1,700 or 1,800 different examples of censorship of prominent people. This happens all the time now."
Gainor summed up, "If we're not allowed online freedom, then we become third-class citizens in a society where everything is done online."
The thing is, private internet companies aren't bound by the First Amendment and are usually given immunity by what's known as 'Section 230' of the Federal Telecommunications Act. Critics, though are calling on the FCC and Congress to change that so at least Big Tech could be sued if censoring or de-platforming hurts someone.
'If They Can do it to Trump, They Can do it to All of Us'
Meanwhile, it goes on, with Gainor saying the de-platforming went hyper after the election, beginning with the Big Tech booting of Donald Trump.
"President Donald Trump was removed from 17 different platforms. They concluded if they can do it to Trump, they can do it to all of us," he explained.
Westen added, "When they went after Trump, it was a real signal. Ah! They think we're cooked. They think we're done. And they're ready to take us out. And they're showing their hand now. Cancel culture in a mainstream way, in a real way, in a way that's so upfront that everybody sees it."
'Turning Technology Into a Club'
"Systematically, Big Tech is turning technology into a club to be used against people who dare disagree with them," Gainor warned. "This is a systemic attack on freedom, as being organized by the power-mad Left that wants to ban any speech they disagree with as either hate speech or disinformation."
Google denies this, as it did in a 2018 media statement, "Giving preference to content of one political ideology over another would fundamentally conflict with our goal of providing services that work for everyone."
Gainor disagrees and he warns this cancel culture trend is now moving beyond Big Tech to places like banks, credit card companies, and law firms cutting off conservatives.
Build an Alternate Online World
Gainor and Westen advise these and other potential targets to build their own alternative infrastructure and systems.
"Conservatives need to build the infrastructure that they can survive on, without companies that will abandon them," Gainor advocated. "And that means web companies and lawyers and search engines and social media companies, and all those links along the chain."
Westen added, "It's really important that people have these alternatives, and do the reach-outs now to alternatives where you can get to."
'They Don't Have the Best Interests of Freedom at Heart'
He theorized, "Servers in the US might be pressured by the Biden administration. So you might think of getting a server in another country. These things are real considerations."
Westen admitted LifeSiteNews has learned a hard lesson: "That YouTube, Facebook, Twitter: they really don't have the best interests of freedom at heart. They are going to come after you."
The journalist doesn't think his group has done or said anything even close to earning the punishment they've suffered. But he believes he understands it
Willing to Teach the Hard & Difficult Things
"At LifeSite we really do focus on bringing truth, as Christ said, to the nations: His truth on life, on family, on faith, on culture. All these areas where the world especially doesn't like hearing the truth today," Westen shared.
He continued, "It seems like the very specific areas where the teachings are hard and difficult…the kind of teachings that the Scripture says people will stop their ears and not want to hear it…those are the things that we've been called to do at LifeSite. And we've taken on that joyfully."
He's hoping to build back the massive audience LifeSite suddenly lost when it got the Big Tech boot.
"Right now we're on Rumble. We're out on Gab and MeWe and Telegram as well. But everything will be at LifeSiteNews.com. You'll be able to access all of our content there all the time," Westen advised. "Our prayer is the good Lord will see to it that our stories reach whom they need to reach, who His truth needs to reach."
He urged, "Let's rise up America. Let's rise up, Christians, and not allow this to go on. That's why we need to fight back."