Several major U.S. companies continue to flout First Amendment freedoms, according to a legal group’s new analysis and rankings. 

Alliance Defending Freedom’s annual Viewpoint Diversity Score Business Index ranks dozens of corporations based on their “respect for free speech and religious freedoms” both inside and outside of the companies. 

In its third edition, announced Tuesday, the Top 10 list of shame for flouting those freedoms includes many companies on the same list last year. The companies’ scores ranged from 1% to 100%, measuring 43 different factors, including employee trainings, charitable donations, and various policies for consumers that reveal ideological bias.  

ADF, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based legal nonprofit that advocates for First Amendment free speech and religious rights, analyzed the businesses’ overall histories and broke down what it regards as each company’s shortcomings. “Vague and subjective terms of service” emerged as a common factor. 

1. X Corp.

The company running Elon Musk’s popular social media platform X, formerly Twitter, received the worst score in ADF’s index at 2%, dropping from 5% last year. ADF faulted the platform for maintaining a “hateful conduct” policy that continues to regulate users’ speech. The policy broadly says users may not engage in “hate speech,” which ADF flagged under “unclear or imprecise terms.”

The company’s score also suffered due to a lack of clear protections for employees’ personal beliefs, decisions by prior leadership before Musk took over, or because the company did not provide requested information to ADF. 

2. Airbnb

Coming in second at 4%, the house-sharing service’s terms of use punish users it deems guilty of promoting “bias, prejudice, racism, or hatred,” which ADF labeled as vaguely defined. The legal nonprofit also noted “divisive” training that lectures employees about “social privilege” among white people and other demographics, and how to be an “ally” for the “marginalized.” 

3. Apple

The tech company prohibits content on the App Store that it considers “discriminatory” or “mean-spirited” and decides each case based on what it called an “I’ll know it when I see it” policy, according to its website. Additionally, Apple “is known to require vendors, suppliers, contractors, or other equivalent third parties to adopt” diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, ADF’s report said. It gave the smartphone giant a 5% rating for these and other practices. 

4. eBay

No sellers on eBay are allowed to list for sale “offensive materials” promoting “gender intolerance” and other undefined offenses. ADF criticized the vagueness of the policy and noted that it restricts speech “based on the personal characteristics or identifiers of” the offended person. eBay sits at 5% on the index. 

5. Lyft

Another 5% scorer, the ride-sharing service’s terms of use say that it may restrict a driver from using its direct-deposit program “for any reason.” 

6. Pinterest

ADF, rating Pinterest at 5%, noted a website policy that bans “hateful content or the people and groups that promote hateful activities.” Prohibited speech, listed under a “hateful activities” policy, includes “denial of an individual’s gender identity,” “conspiracy theories,” and more.

7. Amazon

“We don’t sell … content that we determine is hate speech … or other material we deem inappropriate or offensive,” say Amazon’s guidelines for book vendors. Like other companies, Amazon does not specify further what it considers offensive. The company received a 6% score. Amazon long ran a charity donation platform that discriminated against conservative and Christian nonprofits, including ADF.

8. Salesforce

Also scoring at 6%, Salesforce does not allow users to “display, store, process, or transmit … [h]ate-related material,” including any material that it deems “objectionable.”  

9. PayPal

Customers may not use PayPal for transactions tied to “the promotion of hate” or “intolerance,” a policy that factored into its 6% rating. PayPal has a history of freezing the accounts of conservatives and others critical of the Left with little to no explanation. 

10. Etsy

The online store also scored 6%, in part because of its policy against undefined “offensive” speech that applies to anyone “listing items, using community spaces, and writing reviews, or having direct communication with other [users].”

Previous rankings and signs of progress

In many cases, the companies’ lack of participation in the survey or lack of clear policies protecting free expression hurt their scores. 

X (then Twitter), Amazon, Airbnb, eBay, Pinterest, and PayPal were among the Top 10 offenders in ADF’s 2023 rankings. 

ADF’s report, however, noted some “signs of progress” in corporate America. It celebrated JPMorgan Chase ending a policy the legal group saw as discriminatory against conservatives.

“By the end of 2023, the bank had quietly dropped its payment processor WePay’s ‘social risk’ policy that included subjective terms like ‘hate’ and ‘intolerance’ and allowed bank employees to cancel or punish customers based on their viewpoints,” ADF said in a news release.

It also noted a pattern of “de-banking” conservative groups that prompted state investigations into Chase. 

“Drawing on data provided by the Business Index, a sustained campaign has resulted in a major policy change that could reshape the broader financial sector’s approach to protecting free speech and religious freedom,” the organization said.  

Of the 66 companies that appeared in last year’s report, 58% had improved their scores.