Over the past month, Facebook has expanded its “fact-checking” program by training its artificial intelligence (AI) to fact-check and suppress what it deems to be misinformation on Instagram and fact-checking jokes from the comedian Terence K. Williams. Now it has started fact-checking one of the biggest pro-life advocacy non-profits on the platform, Live Action, for supposedly sharing “false news” on a regular basis.
Live Action’s founder and president Lila Rose shared the “False News” notice she had received from Facebook which says:
“Your Page has reduced distribution because of repeated sharing of false news. People will also be able to see if a Page has a history of sharing false news.”
Rose and Live Action also shared examples of the fact-check alerts users now receive when sharing content from the Live Action Facebook page. These alerts read: “There’s additional reporting from an independent fact-checker on content that you shared.”
Users who open these alerts are then presented with a fact-check which frames Live Action’s content as “false” and “inaccurate.”
Rose says that Facebook is placing these restrictions on her page because she states that “abortion is never medically necessary, a fact backed by thousands of OBGYNS & medical experts.”
My Facebook account & @LiveAction's are followed by over 3 million people.
Facebook's "3rd-party fact-checker" are two ABORTIONISTS who targeted my page & @LiveAction's videos.
They are using abortionists to label facts as "false" & severely limit our ability to reach millions
— Lila Rose (@LilaGraceRose) August 30, 2019
After Facebook restricted Live Action’s page, The American Association of Pro-Life OBGYNs, which represents 2,500 medical experts, released a statement which supports Rose and criticizes the decision of Facebook’s fact-checkers by saying: “They are in error to claim that elective abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the mother.”
The impact of this supposed fact-checking from Facebook is twofold. First, Live Action’s Facebook page distribution has been directly limited which means the posts will now be seen by fewer people. Second, people who see the fact-check notices are dissuaded from sharing further content because Facebook is presenting it as false which means organic shares are also likely to decline.
In a statement Rose said: “Continued efforts to censor Live Action will have tremendous implications, not only for the pro-life movement, but for free speech in America.”
This isn’t the first time Rose and Live Action have faced censorship and suppression of their content by the tech giants with Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube all previously censoring their posts or accounts.