Instagram Censors Post Linking to Joe Biden’s 1994 Crime Law

1551
"Instagram logo on gradient header" (CC BY 2.0) by Frank Buschman

Facebook-owned Instagram censored a post containing president-elect Joe Biden’s crime law that contributed to the mass incarceration of black people.

The crime law being censored as “false” by the social media platform was said to have contributed to the mass jailing of black people. Said claim was vehemently supported by lawyers for people with long prison sentences and by both left-wing and conservative criminal justice reform advocates. 


The Instagram user who posted the censored post was Artist Brad Troemel, who has more than 100,000 followers. Troemel posted a photo of Joe Biden and the then-President Bill Clinton, writing, “Find someone that looks at you the way Biden looked at Clinton after Clinton signed Biden’s crime bill into law. Bringing mass incarceration to black Americans.”

Upon posting, it was quickly censored by the social media platform with a warning that says, “False Information.” A message describing the censorship also says, “Independent fact-checkers say this information has no basis in fact.” Instagram users were also advised that said claim was rated as “False” by Doug Stanlin, a USA Today reporter.

Meanwhile, the spokeswoman of Facebook, Stephanie Otway, told The New York Post that the censorship wouldn’t end until USA Today changes its assessment. 

Otway said, “People can appeal a rating by contacting a fact-checking partner directly. Fact-checking partners are ultimately responsible for deciding whether to update a rating, which will lift enforcement on the content.”

However, whether the crime law of Joe Biden contributed to mass incarceration is still debated. 

The said 1994 law includes $12.5 billion in grants to urge states to adopt “truth in sentencing.” Said law required inmates to serve most of their sentences. A separate three-strikes provision also gave several drug dealers federal life sentences. 

The analysis made by USA Today was in part based on a report from Brennan Center for Justice of the New York University. The law helped boost a prison construction boom. In addition to that, the report from New York Univesity also stated that “while some states had already started to enact tougher sentencing laws, the legislation rewarded states for those decisions, providing powerful incentives for others to adopt them.”

The report also focused heavily on whether the 1994 crime law increased the number of blacks within the prison system. USA Today wrote that 45.7% of Black prisoners were accounted for in 1995 and 45.1% in the year 2002. 

In addition to this, the total number of prisoners in the United States increased from 1.6 million in 1995 to over 2 million in the year 2002, which means to say that there was more black in prisons. 

USA Today acknowledges that because there are a minority and a stable percentage of blacks as part of a growing population, this disproportionately affected the group. 

Meanwhile, Cornel West, left-wing activist and Harvard Divinity School professor, who backed Biden in this 2020 election, stated in an interview last year, “When [Biden] says it didn’t contribute to mass incarceration, I tell him he has to get off his symbolic crack pipe.”

One of the people asking President Trump for clemency before he leaves the White House on January 20 is Corvain Cooper, a black man, 41 years old and has a life sentence under Biden’s 1994 crime law. This sentence was due to his role in transporting marijuana from California to North Carolina.

Last month, Cooper’s attorney, Patrick Michael Megaro, told The New York Post, “Biden is responsible for the 1994 crime law that [resulted in] Corvain Cooper being sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for marijuana.”

Even some supporters of Joe Biden slammed the President-elect during the presidential campaign due to his support for the 1994 crime bill.

Charlamagne Tha God, a radio host, recounted during a TV interview, “When [Biden] was on The Breakfast Club, another part of that interview that people miss is that I asked him about the ’94 crime bill, and the ’94 crime bill being the catalyst for mass incarceration in this country. And he said it wasn’t the crime bill. It was the ’86 mandatory minimum sentencing. But I’m like, ‘Joe, and you wrote that too.'”