- REUTERS/Loren Elliott
- Doctors working for fact-checking site Health Feedback labelled a Facebook video from anti-abortion campaigner Lila Rose as inaccurate. The video claims that abortion is never medically necessary.
- Facebook attached the fact-check onto the video and restricted the page’s distribution, prompting Rose to accuse it of censorship.
- Four Republican senators, including Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley wrote to Mark Zuckerberg in complaint.
- Facebook then took the fact-check down, saying it would investigate further.
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Facebook removed a fact-check on an anti-abortion video after it received a letter of complaint from four Republican Senators, including Ted Cruz.
The video, posted by campaigner Lila Rose for the anti-abortion organisation Live Action, claimed that abortion is never medically necessary. Here is the video:
Three doctors working for Health Feedback said that Rose’s claim is inaccurate. They said conditions such as placenta previa and HELLP syndrome can make an abortion necessary to prevent the mother’s death.
This is how the fact-check appears on their website:
- Health Feedback
Rose’s argument for such situations was early delivery of the baby. The doctors said this is only possible after the foetus is 24 weeks old, and so may be the only option in earlier-stage pregnancies.
Facebook, which has been trying to introduce more fact-checking to its platform in an attempt to counter misinformation and fake news, displayed the fact-check next to Rose’s Facebook video.
Live Action also claimed that Facebook had informed it that its content would be restricted due to “repeated sharing of false news.”
Rose retaliated on Twitter, claiming the doctors were “abortionists” and therefore not impartial.
She also accused Facebook of “aggressively [and] publicly siding w[ith] the abortion lobby [and] actively shutting down pro-life educational content.”
On Thursday morning Republican Senators Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Kevin Cramer, and Mike Braun sent a letter to Facebook accusing it of censorship, echoing Rose’s stance that the doctors were not impartial.
They said that the code of conduct established by the International Fact-Checking Network (ICFN) stipulates that fact-checkers not advocate or take policy decisions on issues which they fact-check.
Subsequently Facebook said it had been in touch with the ICFN to open an independent investigation. “While the IFCN investigates, we are removing the relevant fact checks and have communicated this to the members of the US Senate who brought this specific concern to our attention,” a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed.
When contacted by Business Insider, Facebook was not immediately available for comment.