Blocked: How the pro-life movement is being censored on social media
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In October of last year, GOP Congressman Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnSocial media summit highlights partisan approaches on tech Trump announces, endorses ambassador to Japan's Tennessee Senate bid Hillicon Valley: Trump rails against 'terrible bias' at White House social media summit | Twitter hit by hour-long outage | Google admits workers listen to smart device recordings MORE of Tennessee sponsored a pro-life ad that was subsequently blocked on social media. Twitter explained it blocked the ad because it was “deemed an inflammatory statement that is likely to evoke a strong negative reaction.”  

Although the ad was eventually allowed to continue due to immense public pressure, these actions were discriminatory. In contrast, Planned Parenthood’s ads have been featured on Twitter’s platform prominently.

It is this contradictory approach to censoring social media content that has conservatives up in arms. 

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Earlier this month, a social media platform blocked a crowdfunding advertisement designed to help finance a pro-life movie. The movie, according to its overview, “is the real untold story of how people lied; how the media lied; and how the courts were manipulated to pass a law that has since killed over 60 million Americans.”

 

Producer Nick Loeb said that his ad and “people sharing the ads” were blocked. No explanation was given.

Some organizations seem determined to censor the pro-life message. The people who run these mega-companies manipulate the national discussion to conform to their political leanings and use their platforms to steer public opinion in their favor.  

Another way companies limit information is through search engine algorithms and certain “optimization tactics.” Last year, Operation Rescue, a pro-life organization with a highly popular abortions statistics page, reported an unexplainable drop in their page views and search ranking.  

According to Operation Rescue, the page’s views peaked in the month of January 2017, at 37,111 views, but somehow only received 307 views “during the last seven days of June.” Their president asked the popular search engine for analytics on why this may have happened — predictably, the company was mum on its involvement in the sudden drop of views.

Organizations and companies sympathetic to the pro-abortion movement are actively stifling the pro-life message. As we mark another somber anniversary of Roe v. Wade and recommit to our pro-life efforts, we must vigorously push back against censorship of the pro-life agenda. 

Abortion is the scourge of our lifetime. Millions around the nation are standing against this violence, and I hope the decision-makers at these social media companies that are preventing debate on this issue will afford pro-life advocates the opportunity to use online technology to spread their message without censorship.                      

The United States Constitution guarantees the right of free expression, which importantly includes speech and religion. These protections are vital to a well-functioning society, even when we disagree with the expression. As more and more Americans use online technology to communicate, it is imperative that these providers are transparent about how they treat differing viewpoints. 

Rep. Andy Biggs represents Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District. He serves on the House Judiciary Committee.