British journalist Rossalyn Warren raised a rallying cry to abortion advocates to lobby Facebook to black out sites like LifeNews and Live Action, which she accused of producing “vast amounts of misinformation” — such as the correlation between abortion and breast cancer.
Indeed, articles from these sites are “more shared” on Facebook than “evidence-based, credible articles about abortion from reputable news outlets like The New York Times and The Washington Post,” she complained.
According to Warren, whose work has appeared in the Guardian and Buzzfeed, the problem is that Facebook’s criteria to assess what’s fake news doesn’t generally apply to pro-life sites.
Facebook targets sites that mimic existing sites, or are financially motivated. But “anti-abortion” sites are neither, as they publish their own content, and are motivated not by profit but ideology, Warren wrote.
Moreover, Facebook only started to crack down on fake sites after “intense scrutiny” and public pressure following the last U.S. election, and it’s only going after “the worst of the worst, on the clear hoaxes spread by spammers for their own gain,” Warren noted.
“That’s why those of us who are concerned by the misinformation around reproductive rights need to make ourselves heard,” she asserted.
Pressure must be brought to bear on Facebook to censor anti-abortion misinformation, Warren said.
After all, with a referendum on abortion coming in Ireland, “abortion-rights campaigners have expressed concern over the role of misinformation on social media platforms like Facebook in the lead-up to the vote,” she added.
Niamh Uí Bhriain of Dublin’s Life Institute, who is campaigning to keep Ireland safe for unborn children, blasted Warren’s article as “laughable.”
“Her comments on the Irish referendum are indicative of just how far abortion extremists will go to shut down fair debate,” Uí Bhriain told LifeSiteNews in an email.
“She can’t give any real examples of pro-life ‘fake news’ yet wants Facebook to sit in judgment as to what pro-life sites can or can’t report or say.”
Warren’s “real issue here is that social media has given every person – including pro-life activists – the right and the means to break the media’s stranglehold on who should hear what facts,” she said.
“Irish pro-life messages and articles, like this one on why #RepealKills or this one on the #Humanity of the baby, enjoy far greater organic growth than their pro-abortion counterparts,” added Uí Bhriain.
Social media is a great boon for pro-lifers, given that the “abortion debate in Ireland has been totally skewed by the bias of the pro-abortion media with many journalists campaigning to overturn our pro-life laws,” she told LifeSiteNews.
“This year alone they eagerly covered the fake news of a ‘Strike for Repeal (pro-abortion strike)’ which never happened, and spun a lie by telling the world that Ireland locked up a woman who sought an abortion, among many other examples.
The New York Times, long considered the newspaper of record for the United States, is ranked 18th in the world for subscriptions, with three million paid subscribers for its print and online editions in 2017.
But it has its own history of fake news, notably the egregious case of Walter Duranty.
The Pulizer-prize winning New York Times Moscow bureau chief infamously denied the famine in Ukraine carried out under Soviet strongman Josef Stalin, in which at least 10 million Ukrainians starved to death.
“Any report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda,” Duranty wrote.
The Pulitzer Board has never withdrawn Duranty’s award, one of 122 Pulitzers awarded to New York Times journalists through the years, though it investigated the case twice, most recently in 2003.
“That The New York Times would publish an article attempting to shut down a free and fair debate in Ireland is shameful,” Uí Bhriain told LifeSiteNews.
“It is particularly ironic that this effort at censorship is coming from abortion supporters,” she observed.
“These are the same people who deny basic science when they deny the humanity of the baby; they deny the horrific reality of abortion; they deny the sale of baby body parts even when these actions are caught on camera; they refuse to report on the practice of paying bonuses to abortion clinic staff because it might upset their pro-abortion narrative,” said Uí Bhriain.
“Now, not only do they want to ignore the truth, they want to stop anyone else reporting it either,” she said.
“Pro-life voices will not be silenced, especially in this referendum on the right to life of our most vulnerable citizens.”