Project Veritas, a so-called “watchdog group” that secretly records and releases heavily edited, deceptive videos of governmental or organizational figures to the public to create backlash, recently released content that claims to show the social media site Pinterest censoring anti-abortion, conservative, and Christian content. The report focused on the anti-abortion group Live Action and their president, Lila Rose, claiming the site and its contents had been listed as porn by Pinterest.
Project Veritas and Live Action claim that Live Action has since been banned from the platform, and additionally claim that Rose remains suspended. A Pinterest spokesperson told Buzzfeed that the Live Action account was suspended for “misinformation related to conspiracies and anti-vaccination advice, not porn.”
Live Action has started a petition asking Pinterest to “end the suppression of opinions affirming life and human dignity,” and their followers are using the hashtag #LifeCensored to express their outrage over the alleged censorship.
This isn’t the first time Live Action has claimed to be censored by social media sites. In 2017, Live Action cried censorship by claiming that Twitter asked them to remove content from both their Twitter account and website in order to place ads, saying the content was inflammatory and violated their sensitivity policy. While Live Action attempted to present this as bias against anti-abortion accounts, Twitter still allows anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List to take out ads on Twitter.
It’s not even the first time they’ve cried “censorship” in the space of a week. Just days before making allegations against Pinterest, Live Action reiterated claims that Twitter’s ad policy is biased against conservatives, calling out Reproaction specifically for placing ads that highlight the callous commitment of abortion opponents to throwing women in jail.
Let’s be clear: Live Action promotes misinformation, and their allegations of censorship stem not from any observable proof of censorship against them, but their disregard for tech platforms’ community guidelines. To date, there has been no empirically provable social media bias to see here.
As for misinformation, Live Action is full of that: from peddling the unproven and unethical theory of “abortion pill reversal” to promoting deceptively edited videos making inflammatory, untrue claims about Planned Parenthood – claims which were parroted by a terrorist who shot up a Planned Parenthood health center in Colorado.
As Reproaction has written about on multiple occasions, there is no evidence to show that conservatives are being censored by tech companies. Further, misinformation campaigns like Live Action’s can have dangerous consequences – and it’s important for social media companies to consider the consequences of allowing inflammatory lies to spread on their sites, and carefully and fairly apply policy to minimize the spread of hate speech. When anti-abortion organizations claim bias and censorship, what has actually been happening is their own refusal to abide by the policies of social media platforms by spreading violent, inflammatory lies as well as dangerous anti-vaccination content.