Pro-Lifers’ Social Network Bans Are Too Numerous To Not Be Censorship
Live Action was suspended from the short-form video app TikTok on Jan. 30, 2020, after publishing a video with the captions: “Be pro-abortion” or “Be pro-life and conserve infants.” Following a popular TikTok trend, the video shows a young lady eating a jelly bean next to the pro-life caption.
This is the video that TikTok says broke their “Community Standards” and banned us for.
In it, we share the beautiful personal stories that a few of our followers have actually shown us about selecting life for their infants. pic.twitter.com/EBADFmxUEW
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) January 31, 2020
According to TikTok, this video, which also consisted of pictures of smiling babies, broke “several Neighborhood Standards.” Within 24 hr, TikTok asked forgiveness and renewed the account, citing “human mistake.” TikTok never ever informed Live Action which standards it believed us of breaking.
The preliminary decision to eliminate our video of smiling infants was a lot more confusing, since TikTok appears to be fine with videos that imitate damage to children, consisting of one video of a boy strongly beating a realistic-looking infant doll versus a desk, laughing and calling it a “DIY” abortion as the doll flails. That video, which presently has nearly 1.2 million views, 120,000 likes, and more than 2,000 remarks, uses the hashtag “#plannedparenthood.” Another stunning TikTok video shows a young man “explaining to the young boys how to conduct a coat hanger abortion in the garage,” waving a coat hanger and joking that it “just works.”
TikTok’s neighborhood standards restrict “violent and graphic” content, consisting of videos that are “gratuitously shocking, sadistic, or exceedingly graphic,” or which portray “severe physical violence,” yet neither of these videos has actually been gotten rid of.
Live Action’s Ongoing Censorship from Big Tech
The popularity of the Beijing-based social media platform has blown up among the next generation in the United States, with 41 percent of its more than 800 million users between the ages of 16 and 24. Live Action is a nonprofit pro-life organization that promotes for the human rights and self-respect of preborn kids, and seeks to expose the deceitful and dangerous practices of the abortion industry.
One of the crucial audiences for Live Action’s life-saving message is young, pregnant women who are thinking about abortion. At the time of its elimination, and now with its account renewed, Live Action has actually ended up being the largest pro-life voice on TikTok with more than 21,000 followers.
This is not Live Action’s very first encounter with Big Tech censorship on social media. In 2015, Twitter prohibited Live Action and my personal account from running paid advertisements, indicating our usage of ultrasound images, criticism of abortion facilities, and fight to end their taxpayer funding. Twitter informed us we needed to get rid of all our “secret recordings” and “sensitive content,” that included ultrasound images of preborn children and quotes such as, “An individual’s an individual no matter how little,” from both our Twitter feeds and scrub them from our website if we wished to continue marketing.
Extremely, although the “secret recordings” we shared exposed Planned Parenthood authorities participating in trafficking body parts of aborted children, the company and its lobbying arm continue to run paid ads on Twitter.
In 2018, YouTube demonetized Live Action and prohibited our paid advertisements. In June 2019, Pinterest banned and removed Live Action after a whistleblower staff member exposed the platform’s decision to put Live Action on its blocked “porn” list. Also in 2019, Facebook’s partner “fact-checkers” deemed Live Action content “false” for stating abortion is not medically required, a position shared by thousands of board-certified OB-GYNs.
Social Media Is the New Town Square
Whether we like it or not, social media has become America’s town square. We go there for news, details, and public debate. Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter represent themselves as open online forums. The Supreme Court has actually even called social media the “modern public square,” and lower federal courts are now telling public officials that blocking their social networks critics is “viewpoint discrimination” that breaks the First Change. Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo personally called the platform the “international town square.”
These business freely engage in perspective discrimination, which, if done by federal government entities in the standard “town squares” of America, would be brazenly unconstitutional. Huge Tech consistently enters the abortion debate, censors the pro-life side, favors the pro-abortion side, and then laughably declares to be imposing neutral policies.
Just in 2015, Twitter limited an image of the late Nobel Prize-winner Mother Theresa, posted by the president of Susan B. Anthony List. The image consisted of a quote that apparently violated Twitter’s “health and pharmaceutical items and services policy.” The quote read, “Abortion is profoundly anti-woman. Three quarters of its victims are women: Half the infants and all the mothers.”
Absurd as it is to claim choices like this are neutral, Silicon Valley’s escape hatch is that these business are private corporations, not federal government entities. For that reason, the First Modification does not apply to their enforcement of their guidelines.
What Should We Do About Censorship?
With these companies acting as gatekeepers to news and details, running under clear predispositions against organizations such as Live Action, is our digital town square truly a forum for complimentary speech and open argument?
Some argue that social media business censoring conservative and pro-life organizations should be held to the exact same standards as other news publications working out editorial decisions. If I can sue the New york city Times for defamation, maybe the exact same liability must use to Facebook for every post it decides not to censor.
Others have actually questioned if social media business must be treated like public energies and therefore essential public services the federal government can control and break up. Possibly the Federal Communications Commission needs to examine their unjust, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices, much like it makes with broadcast media business and electrical power companies.
It is also worth pointing out the Supreme Court promoted California’s capability to broaden free speech securities to citizens who picket and demonstrate in privately owned shopping mall, deemed “public forums” in California. Where is Silicon Valley situated again?
What about TikTok? The app is owned by a Beijing-based business subject to Chinese government censorship policies, not U.S. constitutional free speech rights. The company, ByteDance, has been caught consistently censoring political material worldwide.
As if the titans of Silicon Valley were okay enough, should we now be worried that some corners of our international town square will be subject to the censorship policies of an authoritarian routine? If so, do not expect pro-lifers to be welcomed in those corners, kept track of by the exact same federal government that enforced a brutal one-child policy and untold countless forced abortions, mainly targeting female infants. No wonder TikTok has not flagged or removed “Do It Yourself” abortion videos.
Is that the brave, new global town square we want? Or possibly, because TikTok has servers and headquarters situated in the United States, it needs to be no easier for the platform to get away with censorship than it must be for Silicon Valley.
Whatever we choose as a representative republic, these looming questions are ripe for dispute now that social networks has actually become our indisputable public square. As Americans, we should require that Huge Tech respect our rights to free speech and open debate.
This content was originally published here.