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Pro-Life Leaders Applaud Senate Committee Hearing on Tech Censorship

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 10: Sen.Ted Cruz (R-TX) speaks about a graphic related to free speech at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on April 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. The Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee is questioning whether large tech companies are biased towards conservatives. (Photo by Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)
Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images
DR. SUSAN BERRY

National pro-life leaders celebrated a Senate hearing Wednesday on censorship by tech giants of pro-life voices and films.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz  (R) hosted the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing titled, “Stifling Free Speech: Technology Censorship and the Public Discourse.” The senator proposed Silicon Valley’s censorship practices be dealt with through regulation, antitrust policies, and policing of fraudulent activities.

Regarding Twitter, Lila Rose, president of Live Action, said in a statement that the social media platform is “misleading the public and their shareholders by claiming to be a free marketplace of ideas.”

Live Action explained that Twitter suspended the pro-life group’s ability to promote tweets in 2015 and blocked president Lila Rose’s account from advertising in 2017, situations that continue to this day, despite that Live Action states it has the largest online following in the pro-life movement, with nearly three million followers.

“Their core values claim to ‘seek diverse perspectives’ and ‘free expression’ while ‘respecting the user’s voice,’” Rose said. “In reality, Twitter manipulates what users see by deciding what organizations and individuals can ‘pay to play’ on their platform.”

Rose provided the following example:

Planned Parenthood spent over $120,000 in the last week on ads promoting their pro-abortion ideology on Twitter. But Twitter has told us, one of the largest pro-life organizations online, that we are not allowed to promote our pro-life messages on the platform. Live Action’s ad account is blocked from promoting ads. SBA List and other pro-lifers face the same issues. Being pro-life on Twitter is a cardinal sin.

Twitter, says Live Action, has told the group to delete posts containing images of ultrasounds and those that discuss defunding Planned Parenthood.

The tech company has a “double standard,” Live Action explains.

“While Twitter is actively suppressing Live Action’s ability to advertise our pro-life message, it’s allowing pro-abortion groups like Reproaction to advertise petitions that encourage Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, to continue banning pro-life voices,” the group states.

Marilyn Musgrave, vice president of government affairs at the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, noted that the tech companies’ “enormous power to control speech and choose which viewpoints will be favored or disfavored.”

“SBA List and our pro-life allies have experienced a troubling pattern of censorship across several major social media platforms,” Musgrave said. “Time and time again our ads have been blocked with no satisfactory explanation, while similar ads from Planned Parenthood – America’s largest abortion business – have been allowed to run at the same time.”

Musgrave explained the censored content included “a pro-life quote from Mother Teresa and images of premature babies in the NICU.”

“We thank Chairman Cruz and his colleagues for their efforts to hold tech giants accountable, and we call on these companies to live up to their own professed values and end the discrimination,” she added.

Another witness at the hearing was Chuck Konzelman, writer and director of the pro-life film Unplanned.

During the hearing, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, a Republican, questioned Carlos Mohje Jr., a representative from Twitter, about the site’s hate speech policies and the suspension of the pro-life film’s Twitter account.

“What we discovered — we have a system which tries to stop individuals who have broken rules in the past from coming back on [the platform],” Mohje Jr. responded, “the individual who started the Unplanned account had previously been suspended for violating our rules and as a result our automated systems flagged that account and it was taken down for an hour.”

“What happened to the Unplanned movie is wrong and indicative of Twitter’s ideology at work,” said Rose. “Twitter’s blatant censorship of pro-life messages and messengers is outrageous and goes against their promise of a free and global conversation without barriers.”

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