Facebook has not allayed pro-life advocates’ concerns about censorship, despite its CEO’s stated desire to be a unbiased platform.
This week, an announcement about new tools to stop the spread of “fake news” on Facebook has conservatives wondering if they will continue to be targeted.
Extra Ireland reports Joel Kaplan, Facebook vice president of public policy, said the social media giant plans to launch new transparency tools in Ireland and a new task-force to eliminate fake accounts.
According to the report:
‘We are working hard to build out these transparency tools and roll them out globally but it takes time to do this. From April 25 we will add Ireland to our pilot programme,’ Mr Kaplan said. Ireland will become only the second country in the world where the tools are used, after Canada.
A new taskforce will also be established to fight the spread of fake accounts during the abortion referendum, which were also used during recent campaigns in France, Germany and Alabama.
Mr Kaplan, a former deputy chief of staff to George W Bush, said the taskforce would use artificial intelligence to identify and remove fake accounts, which are often used in the spread of fake news, before they can even post to Facebook. The company will double the number of staff working in safety and security from 10,000 to 20,000 this year.
The censorship of pro-life and conservative 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 in January, 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.”
Barbara Listing, president of RTL of Michigan, urged the social media giant to be more transparent with its advertising policies and procedures. In 2017, 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 October, Twitter rejected an ad from pro-life Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn because she mentioned Planned Parenthood’s sales of aborted baby body parts. Twitter later reversed its decision after LifeNews and other news outlets reported about the matter.
Facebook and Twitter have blocked other pro-life advertisements in the past as well.
In September, Live Action, the youth-centered pro-life organization known for its undercover investigations, said Twitter has been censoring its ads. Live Action founder Lila Rose said the social media site blocked their ability to advertise and told them to change information on their websites if they want to start advertising again.
Twitter also refused to run an ad from the Susan B. Anthony List in the fall because it contained the phrase “killing babies.”
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.