Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared before Congress yesterday and said that Facebook shouldn’t censor pro-life views. However the social media giant is censoring them anyway.
LifeNews.com has seen repeated attempts to censor our pro-life message or the pro-life messages of other organizations. We have had problems with certain posts being blocked on Facebook, and Facebook has denied LifeNews the ability to promote certain posts with content that it deems unacceptable.
But in an exchange with pro-life Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse yesterday,Zuckerberg claimed that Facebook should not be censoring pro-life use even though abortion issues are controversial.
“I am worried about the psychological categories,” Sasse clarified. “You used language of safety and protection earlier. We have seen this happen on college campuses. It’s dangerous. Forty percent of Americans under age 35 tell pollsters they think the First Amendement is dangerous because you might use your freedom to say something that hurts somebody else’s feelings.”
“There are some passionately held views about the abortion issue on this panel,” Sasse continued. “Can you imagine a world where you might decide that pro-lifers are prohibited from speaking about their abortion views on your platform?”
“I certainly would not want that to be the case,” Zuckerberg told Sasse.
“It might really be unsettling to people who’ve had an abortion to have an open debate about that, wouldn’t it?” Sasse asked.
“It might be,” Zuckerberg replied, “but I don’t think that that would fit any of the definitions of what we have but I do generally agree with the point that you’re making which is as we’re able to technologically shift especially towards having AI proactively look at content, I think that’s going to create massive questions for society about what obligations we want to require companies to fulfill.”
“I do think that that’s a question that we need to struggle with as a country because I know other countries are and there putting laws in place,” he said, “I think America needs to figure out and create the principles we want American companies to operate under.”
Zuckerberg said in another part of his testimony that the platform was developing artificial intelligence tools to flag hate speech. He said he was “optimistic that over a five to ten-year period we will have AI tools that can get into some of the nuances, the linguistic nuances of different types of content to be more accurate in flagging things for our systems.”
The pro-life censorship has been a huge problem at Facebook.
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 devoted to pro-life issues, has long believed that Facebook has been suppressing its traffic.