Facebook apologized Thursday for banning a pro-life advertisement ahead of the midterm elections.
The Susan B. Anthony List, which supports pro-life candidates, had six ads censored by the social media giant in the past several weeks, the Daily Caller reports. The matter has attracted widespread media attention from pro-life and conservative news sites like LifeNews, as well as local secular media.
Responding Thursday, Facebook said the removal of at least one of those ads was an “accident,” according to the AP.
“We’re sorry for this mistake — the ad has been restored and is now running on Facebook,” a spokesperson for the company said.
The 30-second ad highlights Tennessee Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn and her extensive pro-life record. It also exposes how extreme her opponent, Phil Bredesen, is on abortion.
A few hours after the apology, however, SBA List said Facebook took down another one of its ads. The ad supports Montana pro-life candidate Matt Rosendale for U.S. Senate.
— Susan B. Anthony List (@SBAList) November 1, 2018
“We are days away from the midterm elections and Facebook once again is censoring our message,” said Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications for SBA List. “Our pro-life message is constantly under threat by Facebook which, despite the promises of COO Sheryl Sandberg, has created a hostile environment for pro-lifers to advertise in.”
Quigley asked the company if it has denied any of Planned Parenthood’s ads or ads from pro-abortion candidates.
SBA List also questioned the social media giant’s political bias and pointed to an article at Axios about Silicon Valley leaders supporting a “blue wave” in the midterm elections.
“Is this the real reason @facebook is censoring our #ProLife ads in Arizona, Iowa, and now Tennessee supporting @VoteMarsha?” SBA List wrote on Twitter, linking to the article.
Last week, Facebook also blocked two of its election ads that expose politicians who support late-term abortions. The ads tell the stories of preemies Charlotte Ryun and Micah Pickering who were born at 24 and 22 weeks, respectively. Both now are thriving children. In the ads, their parents speak about the value of their children’s lives and the tragedy of laws that allow unborn babies at those same stages of pregnancy to be aborted for any reason.
The social media site claimed the premature babies’ images were too “graphic.”
One ad also targets Democrat Fred Hubbell who is running for Iowa governor and supports late-term abortions. He is challenging pro-life Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Susan B. Anthony List, called for an end to the censorship.
“After Twitter shamefully stifled Marsha Blackburn’s pro-life free speech last year, Sheryl Sandberg promised Facebook would never do the same, even if she personally disagreed with it,” Dannenfelser said. “That’s proven to be an empty promise.”
Pro-life advocates have been concerned about censorship by Facebook and Twitter for years. Earlier this month, makers of the “Gosnell” film said Facebook also censored their ads.
Live Action, the youth-centered pro-life organization known for its undercover investigations of Planned Parenthood, said Twitter has been censoring its ads repeatedly. 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.
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.
Facebook became a subject of national controversy 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.