Pinterest bans popular anti-abortion group Live Action

13 Jun 2019

Image: Pinterest

Pinterest said Live Action posted misinformation related to health as it confirmed its decision to ban the group.

Social media site Pinterest has permanently banned popular anti-abortion group Live Action for spreading misinformation.

In an email sent to Live Action, representatives from Pinterest said: “People come to Pinterest to discover inspirations they can use in their lives, and our principles maintain a safe, useful and positive experience for our users. Because of this, we don’t allow advice on Pinterest that may have immediate and detrimental effects on a Pinner’s health or on public safety.”

Live Action’s director of external affairs, Alison Centofante, claimed that the ban was meted out to Live Action after it tried to appeal it being added to a list of blocked pornography sites, which limited its reach. Right-wing activist organisation Project Veritas reported in a video (which has since been removed from YouTube) that Live Action had been added to this list, something that Pinterest has chalked up to a quirk of the company’s internal moderation tools.

Live Action, which boasts millions of followers on social media, was founded by controversial US anti-abortion campaigner Lila Rose Grace. It is best known for carrying undercover video sting operations on Planned Parenthood clinics and for publishing videos linking Planned Parenthood to the harvesting and sale of foetal body parts.

In a recent study by Media Matters, Live Action was ranked as one of the top spreaders of abortion-related content on Facebook. Overall, 63pc of links on Facebook concerning abortion come from right-leaning sources.

Pinterest has not specified which posts got Live Action banned. Live Action has in response started a petition to “stop Pinterest’s censorship of pro-lifers”.

The ban is part of a broader crackdown on medical misinformation that Pinterest announced in February. It has also made efforts to stem the spread of anti-vaccination memes and refuses to surface what it calls “polluted” terms, such as “cancer cure”. The company has been previously criticised for the bevy of unsubstantiated health claims being ‘pinned’ on the platform.

Pinterest is not the only social media firm to bring action against anti-abortion groups spreading misinformation. Twitter has stated previously that Live Action can no longer advertise on the platform due to repeated violation of the company’s policies. Google also updated its policies related to healthcare and medicines earlier this month, stating that advertisers running ads using keywords related to getting an abortion will need to be “certified” as an advertiser that either does or does not provide abortions.

Pinterest could not be reached for comment at the time of reporting.

Eva Short was a journalist at Silicon Republic