Live Action is one of the latest companies to have been censored by Big Tech companies, like Twitter.
On July 12, 2019 Lila Rose, president of Live Action, was in the White House on Thursday to talk about censorship and Big Tech’s attempts to mute the spread of pro-life information with President Donald Trump. Live Action, one of the pro-life movement’s biggest and most influential companies, has run into issues across social media. They’re well known for their videos describing abortion procedures, undercover clinic videos in Planned Parenthood locations, and other materials that support a pro-life worldview.
Pinterest removed its account and, when other users attempt to pin content from the organization, the content is placed on the same lists as pornographic material. Project Veritas published internal material from a Pinterest employee, available here, about this decision.
Alison Centofante, director of external affairs at Live Action, says that their Pinterest account was removed permanently from Pinterest for “harmful misinformation, [which] includes medical misinformation and conspiracies that turn individuals and facilities into targets for harassment or violence.” In addition, Live Action says that Pinterest describes their content as having “immediate and detrimental effects on [a Pinterest user’s] health or on public safety.”
Live Action has also had problems with Twitter, where Lila Rose and Live Action are both unable to run paid ads. Planned Parenthood and Planned Parenthood Action, their lobbying arm, are both able to run ads on the site. In order to run ads on Twitter, Live Action says that they would be required to remove all pro-life content from both their Twitter feeds and their own website. This means that they want to control the content not only on their own platform, but Live Action’s own virtual property. Twitter’s overreach (and bias) is clear.
In June, Google updated their ad policies about “healthcare” topics, including abortion, catching Live Action in their net, as well. No longer does Live Action come up high in “abortion” searches. As per the new policy, “Advertisers who want to run ads using keywords related to getting an abortion will first need to be certified as an advertiser that either provides abortions or does not provide abortions.” This will lead to pro-life groups getting labeled on the results:
“To get certified, advertisers must submit an application where they self-declare as an organization that either provides abortions or does not provide abortions. The application will require some basic information about your organization. Once your submitted information has been reviewed and verified, you’ll receive a certification. Depending on how you’re certified Google will automatically generate one of the following in-ad disclosures for your abortion product or service ads: ‘Provides abortions’ or ‘Does not provide abortions.’”
Google is swaying both what people are viewing and how they will view it.
On YouTube, Live Action can’t run ads about their videos to encourage others to find their content, and they also have been blocked from monetizing or running ads on their own videos.
Big Tech ad companies have completely censored Live Action's ability to share ideas and materials across major internet sites.
All of these big tech companies need to decide if they want to be treated like platforms or publishers. They’re attempting to straddle this line, claiming exemptions from liability on the content on their servers as platforms while directly censoring content. It’s unreasonable and irresponsible for them to claim that they’re a neutral communication host, hiding behind Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
True neutral platforms, like BareIt.us, offer a forum for a true diversity of religious and political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural reconstruction, and countless avenues for intellectual exercise. It’s clear that their actions violate neutrality, acting as publishers, and should be held accountable to publishing standards.
If Big Tech companies want to moderate who can buy ad space, who can post certain kinds of information, and to judge what contents are acceptable, then they should be held liable for the posts that users make on their sites.
Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google must be held accountable and liable for contents held on their websites if they are deciding what to publish rather than simply being a public platform of ideas.