The social media giant Facebook has repeatedly censored pro-life pages and advertisements from pro-life organizations. But during a congressional hearing yesterday CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted Planned Parenthood has never been censored.
Zuckerberg faced tough questions from pro-life Senator Ted Cruz. During questioning he said he was never aware of a single circumstance where the Planned Parenthood abortion business had its message censored on Facebook. Zuckerberg acknowledged that Cruz raised a “fair concern” but insisted that Facebook was committed to being a “platform for all ideas.”
“There are a great many Americans who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship,” Cruz said.
He read off examples of Facebook suppressing conservative speech and had Zuckerberg reply.
“Senator, let me say a few things about this,” Zuckerberg replied. “First, I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in the Silicon Valley which is an extremely left-leaning place and this is actually a concern that I have and that I try to root out in the company — is making sure that we don’t have any bias in the work that we do.”
Cruz then asked if any pages from Planned Parenthood, pro-abortion Moveon.org, or pro-abortion Democratic candidates, had been taken down by Facebook.
Zuckerberg replied that he was “not specifically aware” of any of those pages being censored.
“I am very committed to making sure that Facebook is a platform for all ideas,” he insisted. “That is a very important founding principle of what we do. We’re proud of the discourse and the different ideas that people can share on the service. And that is something that, as long as I’m running the company, I’m going to be committed to making sure is the case.”
But the censorship of pro-life organizations has been pervasive.
The West Virginia-based ministry Warriors for Christ repeatedly has had its Facebook pages removed by the social media giant. Its main page, which has more than 225,000 followers, was removed again last week, allegedly for “hateful, threatening or obscene” content.
In 2015, Facebook also refused to allow Live Action News to advertise one of its stories because “the image or video thumbnail may shock or evoke a negative response from viewers.” The image was of baby Eli Thompson who was born without a nose.
Earlier this year, two Hollywood actors who are working with pro-life leaders on a film detailing the true story behind Roe v. Wade said Facebook is blocking their project.
Nick Loeb told World News Daily that he believes the social media giant is censoring them because of the film’s pro-life message and its exposure of Planned Parenthood’s eugenic history.
“They have even blocked people sharing the ads I paid for,” Loeb said. “This is stealing or fraud.”
The Wexford/Missaukee Right to Life, an affiliate of Right to Life of Michigan, noticed on Oct. 4 that its advertising account on Facebook had been shut down. The group said it still is not sure why.
“I have heard that Facebook is run and managed by a group of biased liberals under the management of Mark Zuckerberg,” said Don Hoitenga, who manages the pro-life group’s Facebook page. “I can now believe the rumors as I have been banned from advertising on Facebook.”
When the group asked for an explanation, it received this response: “There’s no further action you may take here. We don’t support ads for your business model.” The email from Facebook also said its decision is final.
Barbara Listing, president of RTL of Michigan, urged the social media giant to be more transparent with its advertising policies and procedures. Earlier this year, Facebook also blocked her organization’s advertising account. It later reinstated the account after the news media drew attention to the matter.
“We achieved no results working through Facebook’s customer service department and the Better Business Bureau. Facebook only appears to respond to media attention to fix what they claim is a simple mistake,” Listing said.
“Are these bans automated? Does a human being respond to questions from users? Does Facebook think they can get away with censoring smaller pages and users because they can’t draw attention? These are questions Facebook must respond to if they truly want to build community trust,” Listing added.
In 2016, a Maryland pro-life pregnancy center also had its ad initially rejected by Facebook. The social media site tagged the phrase “if you are pregnant” as objectionable, likening it to “if you are fat.” Facebook later approved the ad after the pro-life group modified the phrase.
Facebook became a subject of national news in 2016 after some of its workers admitted that they suppressed conservative news stories in favor of liberal ones. LifeNews.com, which is the leading pro-life news website on the Internet and the only one specifically