By: Meghan Travaline
When buying an item on Amazon, many people look at the ratings and reviews to decide whether or not to make the purchase. Most people would consider an item with a 4.7/5 star rating from over 342 global reviews as a good purchase, especially when 90% of the critics gave 5 stars. Surprisingly, according to Amazon, this is not quality.
Babies Are Still Murdered Here, a pro-life movie directed by Marcus Pittman, had the aforementioned rating: 4.7/5 stars, 90% 5-star reviews, and over 342 global reviews on Amazon Prime Video. Despite the rave reviews, Amazon determined that the “title does not meet [their] customer content quality expectations.” Amazon decided this based on customer feedback, which is explained as “including but not limited to a combination of star reviews, customer reviews, and/or customer viewing behavior.” Amazon removed the movie on July 20, 2020.
This may have gone unnoticed longer had musical artist Kanye West not been in the news for his emotional and passionate remarks on abortion. As it turns out, fans of the movie were attempting to send Babies Are Still Murdered Here to Kanye West and discovered the movie was suddenly unavailable. They reached out to director Marcus Pittman to inform him of the removal. He was surprised when he found that anyone who had not already purchased the film prior to its removal could not view it. Amazon did not notify Pittman that his movie had been removed.
Babies Are Still Murdered Here investigates why abortion is still legal in the United States. It asks, why does this advanced country still kill its babies? The movie, produced by Apologia Studios, Jon Speed, and Christ is King Baptist Church, became available for digital release on Amazon Prime Video in 2019. It is part of the End Abortion Now movement, which began as an outreach ministry of Apologia Church in Arizona. The End Abortion Now movement seeks to do more than simply encourage people to vote pro-life. They strive to educate churches and ministries throughout the world on the Gospel as it relates to abortion.
So, why the removal? Amazon’s reasoning simply does not make sense.
I looked at some movies that liberal filmmaker Michael Moore directed as a basis for comparison. Out of seven movies that list him as the director: Fahrenheit 11/9, Where to Invade Next, Capitalism: A Love Story, Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore in Trumpland, and Roger and Me, not one has 4.7/5 stars or more. With the exception of Roger and Me, these movies have more reviews; however, when looking at the percentage of 5 star ratings, not one of Michael Moore’s films has close to 90% 5 star ratings. Roger and Me has 301 reviews with just 71% of them giving the film 5 stars.
Flagging and Deleting Conservatives: Big Tech’s Viewpoint Discrimination
Conservative bias in Big Tech is not new. In fact, Twitter frequently censors pro-life accounts.
In 2017, Twitter flagged pro-life group Live Action’s tweet which depicted a baby in the womb alongside the quote, “I Am Not A Potential Human. I Am A Human With Potential.” Twitter also flagged ultrasound photos and tweets discrediting Planned Parenthood’s claims, stating the posts were “hateful and insensitive.” Furthermore, Twitter told Live Action that they would have to stop calling to defund Planned Parenthood and sharing pro-life content, in order to run ads.
Susan B. Anthony List has also faced censorship at the hands of Twitter. In fact, Twitter flagged one of their tweets which contained the Mother Teresa quote,
“Abortion is profoundly anti-woman. Three quarters of its victims are women and children: Half the babies and all the mothers.”
Twitter claimed the tweet violated its policy of “the promotion of health and pharmaceutical products and services.”
In 2019, Pinterest temporarily banned Live Action from its site for “medical misinformation and conspiracies that turn individuals and facilities into targets for harassment and violence.” According to a company whistle-blower, Pinterest labeled Live Action’s posts as pornography.
As recent as August 7, 2020, YouTube deleted a video of abortion procedures showing factual, medically accurate animations of abortions created by Live Action, narrated by a former abortionist. Live Action appealed the removal and the video was reinstated.
AmazonSmile users may donate a portion of each purchase to Planned Parenthood, however, users cannot donate to the Family Research Council, a Christian pro-marriage and pro-life organization, or to the Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based nonprofit which seeks to legally defend religious freedom.
Conservative censorship extends beyond abortion, especially recently.
Conserative outlet PragerU has repeatedly been targeted by Big Tech. Many of PragerU’s videos are on YouTube’s restricted list. Shockingly, Youtube even restricted a video about the Ten Commandments because it referred to “murder.” On August 6, 2020, PragerU received a Facebook notification that its page is “at the risk of being unpublished because of continued Community Standards violations.” Twitter also locked not only PragerU’s account, but suspended Donald Trump Jr.’s account for sharing a viral video of a doctor advocating for hydroxychloroquine in the fight against COVID-19.
On August 5, 2020, both Twitter and Facebook removed videos of President Trump discussing the reopening of schools amid the coronavirus pandemic. Likewise, YouTube recently removed a conservative live stream discussion of Black Lives Matter between host John Hinderaker and guest Heather MacDonald, who, during the podcast, cited statistics about police brutality and discredited the core of Black Lives Matter’s message. It was taken down for violating YouTube’s guidelines, and reinstated with an age restriction after Hinderaker appealed. Google has even removed the homepages of the conservative sites Breitbart and The Daily Caller, causing Breitbart’s search visibility to decline 99.7%.
Instances of conservative bias in Big Tech have opened the door for other social media outlets and search engines, such as Parler and DuckDuckGo, to establish themselves on the basis of freedom and privacy.
Why are tech companies censoring pro-life and conservative views? How do they get away with viewpoint discrimination?
Although they are private companies, they are not treated as publishers due to an exemption in the Communications Decency Act of 1996. The intent of the Act was to allow tech companies to control indecent content published on their platforms without being labeled as publishers all while promoting a policy of free speech. Despite seemingly honorable intent, the consequence has led to backlash over conservative bans. Typically, these tech companies cite their usage of algorithms as a reason for why conservative posts are banned or flagged. However, as pointed out by people like John Hinderaker and Congressman Jim Jordan, opposite views on the same topics do not seem to be banned.
In May, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship. Moreover, on July 29, 2020, the CEOs of Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple testified before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee regarding accusations of anticompetitive behaviors as well as conservative censorship. The CEOs denied the accusations of censorship despite evidence to the contrary. Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee did not affect the companies’ behaviors. A few previously stated examples of censorship happened following the hearing. Will it ever change?
How We Can Overcome Big Tech Bias as Pro-Life Advocates
Social media is beneficial to conservatives and pro-life groups. Our very own Human Defense Initiative is a millennial-run pro-life organization with a strong social media presence, followed by popular conservatives such as Charlie Kirk and Allie Beth Stuckey on Twitter.
The pro-life message is gaining popularity, and with the help of social media, it is reaching the younger, millennial generation. However, with the constant hypocritical banning and flagging, it feels as if conservatives are fighting an uphill battle in order to get facts and truth to the general public.
As advocates for life, we cannot be silenced by the silencers. Continue to share the facts about abortion. Continue to share the evil history of Planned Parenthood. Continue to share the good about pregnancy help centers. Stay up-to-date on pro-life news. Educate yourself on the factual responses to pro-abortion arguments. Attend the National March for Life in Washington, D.C. Vote pro-life. Watch the film Babies Are Still Murdered Here.
We must continue to fight for the truth, fight for the greater moral good, and fight for basic human rights.
Life will always be the most basic human right. Without life, there is nothing else. There is no Google, Facebook, Amazon, or Twitter. Those babies killed in the womb do not have the opportunity to share their views or to enjoy the benefits of this advanced technological age. Their rights are taken from them along with their lives. It is worse than censorship; it is murder.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Human Defense Initiative.