Even people who don’t agree with their ideas should be concerned about this restriction in discourse. Conservatives deserve a chance to have their ideas heard.
Pro-life organizations have been especially censored. Live Action— a pro-life group known for their videos of animated abortion procedures and investigative journalism exposing Planned Parenthood for covering up sex trafficking and other horrors— is not allowed to have sponsored content on Twitter, meaning they cannot advertise on the social media platform. The Susan B. Anthony list, a non-profit organization that supports pro-life politicians, faces the same restrictions.
The censorship began earlier this year when Twitter told Live Action that their advertisements would not be allowed unless they removed “offensive” and “inflammatory” content. Rhetoric calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood falls under these vague rules, according to Twitter. SBA list was told that the phrase “killing babies” was not allowed in a video advertisement.
Twitter had previously halted advertisements from Rep. Marsha Blackburn, because she spoke about her desire “to stop the sale of body parts” by Planned Parenthood. Twitter later allowed the advertisements, but only after they were criticized for it, proving that if people speak out, change is possible.
“Twitter was wrong to censor Rep. Blackburn’s ads, and only did the right thing when they were subjected to media scrutiny,” said Lila Rose, the president of Live Action. “Twitter must now lift the ban on similar advertising from Live Action and SBA List. Twitter has significant power as a media channel to influence public opinion, and just as with Representative Blackburn, they have no business silencing the pro-life voice.”
Meanwhile, Planned Parenthood is allowed to run their ads.
In a similar case, Human Coalition, a pro-life group dedicated to providing long-term care for pregnant women in need, has saved the lives of more than 7,000 babies, according to their Twitter page. The organization had a mobile application for four years, which was downloaded twenty thousand times. On the app, people could see prayer requests for women considering abortion, with posts such as “Someone considering abortion in Detroit, Michigan scheduled an appointment with a center.” Users could then anonymously indicate that they were praying for the situation.
The app was removed from the iTunes Store this summer. According to Human Coalition’s website, the removal came without warning, although the app had been criticized by pro-choice members of the media in the weeks preceding the decision. When Human Coalition reached out to Apple, the company did not answer their questions about why the app was removed.
“There is a growing trend in the U.S. to attempt to deter or silence Americans who oppose the fatal discrimination against pre-born children,” Brian Fisher, the president of Human Coalition, told Fox News. “This move by Apple is not surprising, though it is a deep disappointment.”
It isn’t just pro-life views which are being censored. Prager University, which produces videos offering a conservative perspectives on a wide range of topics, recently announced that they had filed a lawsuit “to stop Google and YouTube from unlawfully censoring its educational videos and discriminating against its right to freedom of speech.”
More than 50 PragerU videos have been moved into “restricted” mode, meaning some users won’t be able to watch them depending on their settings, or “demonetized,” meaning ads cannot run before those videos and PragerU misses out on the revenue they would have generated. While the “restricted” videos typically contain content that is inappropriate for younger audiences, the PragerU channel contains no such content. Some of the videos that are restricted include explanations of the sixth commandment, the founding of Israel, and “Why Did America Fight the Korean War.”
“Watch any one of our videos and you’ll immediately realize that Google/YouTube censorship is entirely ideologically driven,” said Dennis Prager, the founder of PragerU. “Their censorship is profoundly damaging because Google and YouTube own and control the largest forum for public participation in video-based speech in not only California [where PragerU is based], but the United States, and the world.”
If you think these organizations shouldn’t be censored because of their beliefs, there are three petitions you can sign. Go to liveaction.org/twitter-petition, prolifeapp.com, and prageru.com (click on “Petitions”). It’s important to fight for these voices to be heard.
Chandler Lasch is a senior studying history.