Zuckerberg admits there ‘clearly was bias’ in Facebook ‘fact-check’ of pro-life group
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted that bias played a role in the recent suppression of Live Action content based on the word of a pair of abortion activists, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said after a meeting on Capitol Hill, but refuses to submit the issue to a truly independent audit.
Earlier this month, Facebook notified the pro-life group that it would be subject to “reduced distribution and other restrictions because of repeated sharing of false news,” a determination reached because a pair of abortionists affiliated with the pro-abortion advocacy groups Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) and Physicians for Reproductive Health disputed two of the pro-life group’s videos. Live Action responded with a detailed explanation of how they distorted the videos in question.
Last week, Hawley and three other Republican senators sent a letter to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg noting that the incident violates the social network’s stated policy of certifying fact-checkers’ impartiality via the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN), and calling for an external audit. Last month, Facebook released the first report from an audit team it commissioned, which the senators panned as “nothing more than a summary of complaints against Facebook and its responses.”
On Thursday, Zuckerberg met to discuss the issue with Hawley, after which the latter tweeted that the Facebook founder acknowledged that there was “clearly was bias” in the case, which is “an issue we’ve struggled with for a long time.” However, Zuckerberg refused to open Facebook to an “independent, third-party audit on censorship.”
“I told Zuckerberg that if he wants to get serious about censorship and proving that Facebook isn’t biased, he ought to submit to an independent third-party audit,” Hawley elaborated to Fox News on Friday. “Open Facebook’s books up, open their employees to interviews….I think he was stunned and secondly, he said well we’re just not gonna do that. Until Facebook shows that it’s willing to take real action, then it’s just talking.”
In response to the latest developments, Live Action founder Lila Rose reiterated her call for Facebook to publicly apologize, remove the biased “fact-check,” and reform its fact-checking process to prevent repeats of the incident.
We have yet to receive any apology from @Facebook.— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) September 19, 2019
Thousands of my FB followers were sent push notifications saying I spread “false” news.
The bogus “fact check” by the abortionists who have publicly called for our deplatforming is still up on the Health Feedback website.
Some say just move off the platform. FB has a user base of 2B+. Educational nonprofits like ours have developed followings of millions, investing hardwon $$ for years in order to share our content, because FB claimed they don’t censor content based on political viewpoint.— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) September 19, 2019
2/2: @Facebook also needs to remove the inaccurate Fact Check, resend a notification to our followers who were notified by Facebook fact checkers that our posts were "false", and fix their process so it never happens again to us or anyone else.— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) September 19, 2019
This is only the latest instance of Facebook suppressing pro-life content. Other individuals and organizations to see ads rejected or posts censored include Save the Storks, the Susan B. Anthony List, the American Pregnancy Association, Choice For Two, Elizabeth “Activist Mommy” Johnston, and recent pro-life films about Kermit Gosnell and Roe v. Wade. Facebook also opted to block foreign pro-life ads in Ireland’s 2018 abortion referendum, despite Irish law not requiring such a ban, nor did Irish officials request one.
Facebook also recently removed a LifeSiteNews post linking an article that argued against subjecting young children to transgender hormone treatment on the grounds that it supposedly violated the platform’s Community Standards against “hate speech.” The company even temporarily suspended (but later apologized to) LifeSiteNews digital marketing assistant Madeleine Jacob for posting the article.
In addition, multiple analyses have found that Facebook’s algorithm changes instituted at the beginning of 2018 disproportionately impacted conservative politicians and websites. Earlier this year, an insider revealed that Facebook “deboosts” traffic to several mainstream conservative sites.