Pinterest used to be a harmless time-suck that filled your feeds with unattainable kitchens, delicious cocktail recipes, and seasonal style. Now, it’s no better than Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube when it comes to social media censorship.
This week, Pinterest blocked the anti-abortion group Live Action from its platform for spreading “harmful misinformation.”
On Tuesday morning, Live Action’s Director of External Affairs Alison Centofante announced that Live Action had been listed as a pornographic site by Pinterest. “It appears Live Action is the only pro-life group on this list, at this time,” she wrote.
After an appeal against the listing, the account was permanently suspended. Lila Rose, the founder of Live Action, wrote that her account was suspended as well.
“Your account was permanently suspended because its contents went against our policies on misinformation. We don’t allow harmful misinformation on Pinterest. That includes medical misinformation and conspiracies that turn individuals and facilities into targets for harassment or violence,” Pinterest said in a statement to Live Action.
Pinterest explained the decision in a statement to the Washington Examiner on Tuesday, saying that pornography was not the problem, but “harmful misinformation” was:
“This domain was actioned for misinformation related to conspiracies and anti-vaccination advice, and not porn. Sometimes our internal tools have legacy names for the technology that enforces some of our policies. This technology was named years ago to combat porn, and has since expanded to a variety of content despite retaining its original internal name. We are updating our internal labeling to make this clear.”
The closest thing to “anti-vaccination advice” Live Action is guilty of is reporting on the issue of using aborted fetal cells to create vaccines, according to its website. “Live Action has been and remains neutral on the issue of vaccines,” the group said. “None of the boards Live Action maintained on Pinterest addressed this issue whatsoever.”
As if the ban weren’t bad enough, Live Action reported the Pinterest employee who first pointed out the censorship was fired.
This is UNACCEPTABLE.
1. @Pinterest bans all pins to our website.
2. We’re labeled “porn”
3. Pinterest employee exposes the censorship
4. We get a COMPLETE BAN
5. Pinterest claims we cause “immediate and detrimental effects on health or public safety”
6. Employee is fired
— Live Action (@LiveAction) June 12, 2019
The Pinterest ban is just another example of recent tech censorship, and its target should be concerning to people on both sides of the abortion debate. Live Action reports that it has “the largest and most engaged online following in the pro-life movement.” It’s a reputable group with a mission that about half of Americans support.
But people who are pro-abortion are increasingly told that theirs is the only side of the debate, with late night host Busy Philipps saying the issue is just about trying to “police” a woman’s body, and a Democratic congresswoman laughing at Bill Maher when he said he understands people who oppose abortion because he could’ve been aborted himself.
Pinterest seems to believe the narrative, too. For Pinterest to call Live Action’s investigations into sex trafficking and sexual abuse and its information on prenatal health “misinformation related to conspiracies and anti-vaccination advice” is insane. It’s not harmful or false. Pinterest just disagrees with it.
Just like other tech giants shouldn’t censor certain views on their platforms just because they find them distasteful, Pinterest has no reason to ban Live Action. This type of action sets a dangerous precedent, and anti-abortion groups will increasingly find themselves victims to the “harmful misinformation” spread by groups who pretend it’s the other side that’s destroying dialogue.