FACEBOOK – What Facebook unwittingly revealed by banning LifeSiteNews for Covid misinformation

Facebook has banned the website of anti-abortion group LifeSiteNews, a website that regularly spreads disinformation about abortion. The website was banned from YouTube in February for similar reasons. The decision was announced in the midst of the controversy over Facebook’s ban of Mr Trump and may have escaped notice.

The reason given for the ban was described as “spreading false information about Covid-19 that could contribute to physical harm”. Falsehoods about abortion, which can and do equally contribute to physical harm, were not mentioned. The group’s belligerent anti-abortion stance has contributed to the escalating stigmatisation of abortion in the US. Their tactics include both the perpetuation of inaccurate and dangerous medical information about abortion, as well as sensationalised and fictional stories about biotech companies trafficking in fetal body parts.

The failure of Facebook to attribute their decision partly to falsehoods about abortion as well Covid-19 “implies a relative tolerance of misogyny and violence against women on the part of Facebook, as exists in US culture more broadly”. It also feeds the growing number of anti-abortion laws being passed at US state level, which are anti-scientific, and serves to elevate into law the disinformation they are promoting, which is actively being used on false pretences to create barriers to abortion.

SOURCE: Religion Dispatches, by Rebecca Todd Peters, 7 May 2021 ; VISUAL