Big Tech censorship of pro-life groups continues in earnest as TikTok has now banned LiveAction, a pro-life group, from running any ads on its popular social media platform, claiming that the ads are driven by partisan politics.
“All @liveactionorg advertisements have been BANNED @tiktok_us claim our ads were ‘driven by partisan political motives’ But TikTok is the one being partisan & political — allowing pro-abort groups to run ads while penalizing pro-life groups,” LiveAction founder and president Lila Rose tweeted.
The tweet cites TikTok’s reasoning for banning the ads as “Cause-based advertising or public service announcements from non-profit organisations or government agencies may be allowed if they are not driven by partisan political motives.”
Yet, as Rose noted, TikTok allowed Planned Parenthood to run $80,000 worth of ads over the last month. An image shared by Rose shows one of Planned Parenthood’s ads, which says, “Defend reproductive rights for all.”
LiveAction released a statement decrying the censorship.
In it, Rose said, “Unfortunately, censorship is nothing new to us. Large technology companies play an ever larger role in our lives, including by deciding what information we come in contact with. We must rise against this unjust censorship. While we respectfully demand the reinstatement of our ads on TikTok, we will also proactively work to expand our reach on all of our other platforms.” Rose’s account has also been permanently banned by TikTok.
The statement went on to say, “Live Action uses social media to reach young people where they are with transformational content. By censoring the most prominent digital pro-life group in America, TikTok and its Big Tech allies are trying to muzzle the pro-life message from reaching young people of reproductive age.”
“We believe that one crucial step towards ending abortion in our country is saturating the online market with powerful and transformative pro-life content that counters pro-abortion lies and is proven to change minds and save lives. We work hard to reach young people to expose the abortion industry and reveal the beauty of new life from the moment of fertilization. The longer we are suppressed on TikTok, the more lives that will be lost to abortion. The censorship must end.”
TikTok banned LiveAction’s account once before, but it was reinstated citing “human error.”
TikTok has a reputation for censoring pro-life content. Earlier this year, the platform banned Students for Life after posting a video of a discussion between President Kristan Hawkins and a pro-choice student.
Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America posted a timeline detailing some of the censorship activities by various social media companies that pro-life groups have experienced.
While some of the censorship has been implemented without pressure, at other times it has been the direct result of pressure from pro-abortion supporters and government officials. For example, attorneys general from 17 states recently sent a letter to Google to address pressure from Democrat members of Congress who had urged the tech company to manipulate its search results to exclude pro-life pregnancy centers.
Ironically, it’s not Live Action but TikTok that’s being driven by partisan political motives. Tech companies doing the bidding of the left by shutting down opposing views does a disservice to Americans. There are many women using TikTok or other tech platforms who need full access to information. They may find themselves pregnant and scared. Yet when they go online to research information and options, the only information tech companies want to let them see is a message of hopelessness and despair and the only option they want them to know about is abortion — all while hiding the risks of having an abortion.
Americans are informed largely by what they see online. If America is to be a nation of well-informed citizens who make the best decisions for themselves and who ask their elected officials to implement the best policies for their communities and country, then people need to have access to more than just one side of an issue.
The Bible encourages people to seek out wise counsel. As Proverbs 15:22 says, “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.” America was founded on the principle of free speech, for it is only through a flourishing marketplace of information, opinions, ideas, discussion, and debate that a free people and a free society can also flourish.
Tech companies have a special responsibility to encourage and allow its users to hear all sides of an issue, to receive wise counsel, if you will. Just as phone companies don’t get to break into a conversation running over their wires and equipment and shut it down because they don’t like what’s being said, Big Tech has no right to shut down the free flow of legal information and opinions they don’t agree with or find offensive.
We’ve said it before: Congress needs to rescind the legal immunity granted to Big Tech under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996. That deal was made under the good faith belief that Big Tech and social media platforms would act only as carriers of information, utilities, if you will, not information publishers with an editorial point of view. Big Tech has broken that contract, and Congress must act. Too many personal decisions and public policies are at stake to give any unaccountable private company the right to censor one point of view over the other.
Ready to dive deeper into the intersection of faith and policy? Head over to our Theology of Politics series page where we’ve published several long-form pieces that will help Christians navigate where their faith should direct them on political issues.