Yesterday Project Veritas, the team of undercover investigative journalists lead by James O’Keefe, broke the story that yet another social media giant has been actively suppressing conservative speech.
At this point it was only a matter of time before Pinterest, the popular image-based and search-driven social media platform, was exposed by an internal whistle-blower to be using tactics of censorship similar to its sister companies in big tech. You can watch the entire video HERE (edit update: the video is down due to Pinterest challenging PT) but if you just need the cliffs notes, this is what happened: in an effort to silence the advancement of scientific information, Pinterest placed Live Action, a well known pro-life advocacy organization, on the same blocked list that they use for pins linking to porn sites.
In the video you are able to see the list of blocked sites, determined by Pinterest to be pornographic, and then buried in the list you also find liveaction.org, along with a handful of other conservative thought-leadership sites. Pinterest also uses tactics like removing the word “Christian” or the phrase “Bible verses” from its auto-complete function in the search box (which is why you will see an odd merging of phrases like “Christianinspirational quotes” instead of just “Christian quotes.” This is typically done for phrases that could be deemed controversial or generally inappropriate for the platform and the Project Veritas video details how Pinterest organizes the levels of cautionary language (this particular explanation is around the 8 minute mark.)
Even if you don’t consider yourself pro-life, this situation should bother you. Fundamentally, this is about censorship of information. The reason why this example is so glaringly obvious, even after Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram have all had examples of filtering or blocking conservative speech, is because Pinterest is all about the discovery of information. For all practical purposes, it has become its own search engine. But now we know that it is one driven by a specifically leftist ideology. How do you feel about the tech bros of Silicon Valley controlling what information you have access to?
If Pinterest will hold tightly to its “sacred” causes (literally the word they used to describe the pro-abortion organization Planned Parenthood) at the expense of conflicting information (like Live Action) then I want no part of them. In the free market of commerce, the consumer has a unique power to influence even the largest corporations by simply choosing not to consume the product. In the free market of ideas, when information is openly shared, the people have the power to think critically, weigh an idea for its own merit, and make their own conclusions. This should be the basis for a truly pluralistic and tolerant society.
Sadly, the censorship activity by Pinterest isn’t even surprising, yet I still found myself wrestling with the news for a good 24 hours. My prayer was simple: Lord, what is the correct response to this? I kept thinking about the faces of the employees of Pinterest (who were, by the way, young women) who were making these deceitful maneuvers to bury Live Action’s site, and I realized that ideologically, these women were my “enemies.” They were taking real action based on their fundamental belief of maintaining the abortion industry, a cause that I have been long invested in uprooting. As I thought about them, my heart was sobered at the goodness they were (perhaps unknowingly) rejecting– that by hiding the truth about the personhood of unborn children, and the many options available to an expecting mother, they were complicit in stifling actual life.
In Matthew 5, we read the famous “sermon on the mount” of Jesus, including the specific challenge for believers to embrace something counter-intuitive, something almost other-worldly. In verses 43-48, Jesus says the following,
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
If these women were my enemies, and if they were enacting some level of “persecution” (although I use that word with a large grain of salt, as we are still talking about a social media platform, and nothing truly life-altering) against my Christian beliefs, then the answer to my question was in plain text. Jesus wasn’t being metaphorical; he was truth embodied. When he charged the disciples to love their enemies, he was serious. But he also knew that they couldn’t do it in their own strength, and neither can I– he knew that we would need the power of his own indwelling Spirit in order to live out this kind of command. We would need his life, in order to fight for life. For the sake of unborn children, of course, but also for the sake of these women at Pinterest. My prayer is that the “eyes of their hearts” may be opened to the reality and life of Christ.
I agree with the sentiment that Alexandra tweeted a few weeks back, and I hope that the tide is turning in our nation toward a truly open dialogue about women and children:
But as long as the tech overlords work hard to quell information that confronts their doctrine, then our choices remain limited. They are in fact, three: we can leave the platforms, we can further support (and donate) to Live Action, and we can pray for our enemies.