Second Amendment advocate and social media influencer Colion Noir claimed on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience that big tech companies frequently shadowban his content.
Noir isn’t alone. Even a cursory review of the most popular gun-related social media creators reveals a troubling, secretive, and ongoing trend toward the silencing of the Second Amendment community.
“Brother it’s bad,” Noir told Rogan. “If you saw what our numbers were before, in terms of who we were able to reach, and what they are now…”
“Shadowbanning” is an alleged practice of social media companies that limits the reach of objectionable content without actually banning those accounts. Big tech has never admitted to shadowbanning, but influencers say it’s common.
Another popular YouTuber, Mrgunsngear, has claimed for years that his posts are being throttled by Facebook. In a recent Instagram post, he included a screenshot from one of his followers that appeared to show Facebook incorrectly marking his videos as “watched.”
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Other outlets are facing the outright elimination of their channels based on unclear guidelines that appear to be inconsistently applied.
“It is unclear what the rules are,” Karl Kasarda told Fox News. Kasarda operates the YouTube channel, InRange TV.
“Specifically, with YouTube, they pretty much enforce whatever they feel based on their bias of the day. Regardless of your personal belief, firearms and their accessories are legal in the United States. So why are we seeing continuing restrictions and challenges towards content about something demonstrably legal yet not against that which is clearly illegal?” he asked.
Last year, Google banned an advertisement for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) for promoting “animal cruelty.” Google didn’t respond to the RMEF’s complaint until several Republican congressional representatives intervened and the clip was reinstated.
Many other gun-related channels, including educational and gun safety videos from Brownells, have faced similar discrimination.
Restrictive “community standards” combined with shadowbanning puts gun-related outlets in a kind of catch-22. Gun-related content isn’t allowed to be promoted with paid advertising, which means companies rely on organic growth. But shadowbanning significantly limits organic growth, and outlets are left with diminishing audiences and shrinking revenue.
The situation has forced some creators to turn to alternative social media platforms. Kasarda told Fox News that he posts his videos on PornHub. Others have jumped on sites like MeWe, and the Twitter-like website Parler has seen massive growth in recent months.