A group of Republican senators is calling out Facebook for suppressing the views of a pro-life organization by rating its abortion-related content as “false” based on the opinions of abortionists.
“Yet again, Facebook’s pattern of censorship has reared its ugly head,” begins a letter sent to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg from GOP Sens. Josh Hawley, Mo.; Ted Cruz, Texas; Kevin Cramer, N.D.; and Mike Braun, Ind., on Wednesday.
In late August, Facebook hit pro-life advocacy group Live Action with a “false” rating after a “fact check” on two videos that claimed abortion is not medically necessary. One video featured board-certified neonatologist Dr. Kendra Kolb and was titled “The Pro-Life Reply to ‘Abortion Can Be Medically Necessary.’” The other featured Live Action founder and president Lila Rose explaining why abortion isn’t medically necessary.
At the time of the “false” rating, Rose described the action as “potentially the most devastating thing a tech company has done against a pro-life message” and accused Facebook of “effectively taking a position in this debate.” Rose also said she had been told that the group’s reach would be suppressed as a result of the action.
Facebook’s third-party “fact-checking” mechanism made the determination based on the viewpoints of abortionists Robyn Schickler and Daniel Grossman. Schickler went so far as to say that “all reasons for deciding to seek abortion care are valid; no one reason is better than another.”
“No reasonable person would describe Grossman or Schickler as neutral or objective when it comes to the issue of abortion, yet Facebook relied on their rating to suppress and censor a pro-life organization with more than 3 million followers,” the group of senators wrote, calling the actions “clear violations” of “Facebook’s supposed commitment to non-partisanship.”
In contrast, the position that abortion isn’t medically necessary is “a widely-held view, one shared by the thousands of members of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstretricians & Gynecologists, among others,” the senators added.
“Your company, like Twitter, Google, Pinterest and so many other major Silicon Valley social media firms, has been repeatedly confronted with evidence of bias against those with conservative viewpoints, especially on the issue of abortion,” the letter reads. “And in response you have repeatedly insisted that these numerous incidents of discrimination, censorship, and suppression of speech are merely glitches, not evidence of systemic bias.”
“But if this isn’t bias, what is?” the lawmakers asked Zuckerberg. “The only thing more astonishing than your claim to nonpartisanship is your complete failure to back that claim with proof.”
The senators conclude by calling on the social media company to “immediately issue a correction, remove any restrictions placed on the pages of Live Action and Lila Rose, and submit to an external audit.”
Last week, Live Action also announced that it had sent out legal “cease and desist” letters to YouTube and Pinterest on claims that the tech companies had “violated the law by engaging in illegal and discriminatory action against the organization based on its pro-life ideology and mission.”