Facebook doubled down Wednesday on restrictions against pro-life activists after Facebook’s pro-abortion vetting crew labeled a pair of videos “false” for claiming abortion was not medically necessary, according to Live Action President Lila Rose.
After she shared the videos, Rose says, Facebook placed restrictions on Live Action and Rose from promoting and advertising on the website and alerted users of the social media platform that the two videos were “false news.”
Four Republican senators sent a letter to Facebook Wednesday condemning the social media giant’s censorship of Rose and Live Action, calling it “bias against those with conservative viewpoints, especially on the issue of abortion,” according to National Review.
Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-TX.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) pointed out that the “false” rating came from two activists with clear ties to pro-abortion groups such as NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation and Physicians for Reproductive Health.
“No reasonable person would describe Grossman or Shickler as neutral or objective when it comes to the issue of abortion,” the senators wrote, referring to the two people who fact-checked the video. “Yet Facebook relied on their rating to suppress and censor a pro-life organization with more than 3 million followers.”
The senators called on Facebook to issue a correction and reinstate Rose and Live Action’s abilities to promote on the site. Hours after the senators sent the letter, however, Facebook sent out an alert to users once again to fact-check the organization’s video. The platform also gave the group’s page a “violation.”
In possible retaliation against a letter from US Senators to Mark Zuckerberg, @Facebook just sent ANOTHER alert to thousands of our followers saying @LiveAction’s content is “false”—using the “fact check” by two abortionists. They also added a “violation” to our page.
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) September 11, 2019
In an email to The Federalist, Facebook asserted that its fact checkers were independently certified by the Poynter Institute’s International Fact Checking Network (IFCN), which has opened an investigation into the incident.
Posts by Live Action and Lila Rose were fact-checked by a third party, independently certified by the International Fact Checking Network. We have been in touch with the IFCN which has opened an investigation to determine whether the fact checkers who rated this content did so by following procedures designed to ensure impartiality. While the IFCN investigates, we are removing the relevant fact checks and have communicated this to the members of the US Senate who brought this specific concern to our attention.
In their letter to Facebook, the four senators called on the social media giant to consent to an external audit. While the company recently underwent a bias audit earlier this year authored by former Republican Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Hawley and other conservatives slammed the audit as far from thorough despite the results being critical of Facebook but inconclusive. Liberals slammed the report authored by Kyl as giving credence to unsubstantiated claims of across-the-board bias.
Facebook has been facing mounting criticism as the political climate turns against big tech from all sides of the aisle in Washington D.C. and around the world. Hawley has been one of the most vocal proponents of coming down hard on large tech corporations, recently introducing several rounds of legislation aimed at breaking up tech companies and heavily regulating them, even so far as banning certain practices on social media that Hawley argues are addictive and otherwise harm society.
Hawley has also been a vocal critic of large tech giants allegedly suppressing conservative speech on their platforms. Earlier this year, the Missouri senator introduced a bill amending Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act of 1996, which protects large platforms from being liable for user-posted content unless the platforms submitted to an external audit to ensure political neutrality.
Facebook argues, however, that political “neutrality” is a vague term that is impossible to define.