Facebook is refusing to run an Illinois Right to Life (IRL) advertisement raising money for pregnant women in crisis.
IRL’s Project Love was created “to support pregnant women and new mothers in a financial crisis by providing grants for rent, utility bills or other necessities,” but soon after the group attempted to share their fundraising advertisement on the big tech company’s platform, it was censored.
While the ad’s purpose was to raise grant money to give out to pregnant women in need, Facebook restricted it from being shared, claiming that the message violated their temporary restrictions on ads related to social issues, elections, and politics.
This restriction comes as Facebook began cracking down on certain ads to “protect the integrity of the upcoming United States 2020 elections.” According to the temporary policy, ads about social issues, elections, or politics are not allowed on the social media platform from Oct. 27 through election day on Nov. 3.
While Facebook claims that ads involving political figures, parties, candidates, and voting advocacy are currently paused, it is unclear how the social media company defines “social issues” and why IRL’s ad was restricted under these qualifications.
Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.
According to Brittany Clingen Carl, Vice President of Illinois Right to Life, the limitations placed on the group’s ad by Facebook are preventing people from getting the help that they need.
“This censorship by Facebook is outrageous,” she said. “Helping women facing crisis pregnancies isn’t a political issue. It isn’t even a social advocacy issue. It’s simply doing the right thing by helping women and their children when they desperately need support.”
This censorship, Carl also said, further hurts the nonprofit’s ability to raise funds for the increasing number of women asking for financial assistance since the beginning of COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Like a lot of non-profits, Illinois Right to Life has had a tough 2020. Due to the stringent COVID restrictions in Illinois, we haven’t been able to hold any of our in-person events, which are normally a major source of income,” Carl said. “We turned to social media fundraising to try and make up some of our lost income and were met with censorship.”
“Illinois is currently headed into its second lockdown due to the coronavirus, and many people are facing immense financial hardships. Real women need help now, and they are the ones who are ultimately hurt by this ridiculous and arbitrary censorship,” she said.
Facebook recently came under fire for its censorship of the New York Post’s bombshell Hunter Biden story, claiming that it would be limiting the article’s distribution until the story could be “fact-checked.”
The big tech company also purged a Colorado-based nonprofit cosplay group’s page and administrators’ accounts without explanation. While the group volunteers with other charities at events by dressing up as movie characters such as Marvel and DC superheroes, Pikachu, and Disney’s Frozen princesses to “bring smiles to those who need them,” Facebook completely banned their accounts without providing any reasoning.