Skip to main content

Editorial

Stop the Censorship of Mainstream Publications

June 2021
2min read

Facebook and Google have repeatedly blocked American Heritage's content because they can't tell the difference between Russian trolls and a trusted, award-winning magazine.

Congress should investigate the widespread censorship of quality journalism by Facebook and Google, and their discriminatory practices against respected legacy publications.

Given the widespread ignorance about American history, one would think it helpful for American Heritage to disseminate trusted information about our nation's past to as many people as possible, as we have for 70 years.

But social media companies such as Facebook and Google make it difficult and expensive to disseminate this important information while at the same promoting frivolous and unvetted writing posted by amateurs.

Facebook blocked five posts in a row in January 2020. All of them were respectable essays about American history written by trusted experts.
Facebook blocked five American Heritage posts in a row in February 2020. All of them were respectable essays about American history written by trusted experts.

Facebook forces us to pay to have our posts seen by more than a handful of people. But these paid "boosts" of our content are often blocked by lifeless algorithms or corporate reviewers who apparently have no idea what our articles are about.

For more information about censorship of American Heritage’s posts, see “No One Platform Should Have All That Power: The Ascendancy of Social Media and the Struggles of Independent Publications,” by Kevin Pollack of the Free Speech Project at Georgetown University.

But Facebook as rejected dozens of American Heritage posts for being too political in the last few months, including posts about essays by trusted authors as:

What idiots at Facebook can't tell the difference between quality historical writing and disinformation produced by a Russian troll farm?

Google is little better. We receive an email EVERY SINGLE DAY from Google saying we are in violation of their standards.

The ironic thing is the 500 or so emails Google has sent us do not say what the violation actually is or how to fix it – just that a page our website (out of 50,000 pages on our site) is in violation. But we have been receiving them since we published Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Joe Ellis’s brilliant essay on Antonin Scalia’s argument on the 2nd Amendment case, DC v Heller.

To add injury to insult, over the last three years Facebook and Google have siphoned off virtually all website ad revenue from traditional publications such as American Heritage, leaving us with nothing but ugly intrusive ads that bring in pennies of revenue.

It is time to stop the predatory practices that are doing real damage to legitimate, trusted publications. We desperately need an electorate that has access to quality education, not just funny videos.

Stop blocking trusted content from getting to readers who want it and need it.

We hope you enjoyed this essay.

Please support this 70-year tradition of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it with a donation to American Heritage.

Donate