Tuesday, June 18, 2019

I'm dumping Pinterest for their censorship of free speech

I have used Pinterest quite a bit over the years, and many of the websites I work with have been active on the social media platform as well. However, I and those sites are all ending our use of the platform, after they were shown to be suppressing free speech.

Following is an excerpt from a report we are posting to various sites, explaining why we came to this decision.

Over the past week, an insider at Pinterest came forward to reveal a disturbing culture of censorship at the social media giant. It has led us to end our use of the platform, and seek other ways to promote and share our content.

Among the more disturbing actions by Pinterest has been their treatment of the pro-life advocacy group Live Action. The group's Pinterest account has been shut down, after the company claimed it was spreading dangerous misinformation. It said specifically that their stories were an "immediate and detrimental effect on health or public safety." Pinterest also shut down the account of Lila Rose, who founded Live Action when she was 15.

It should be noted that Live Action is one of the most respected and professional pro-life groups in operation. It covers local and national news tied to the abortion debate and testimonials of those who regret their abortion. It does not spread conspiracy theories or fake news.

Even so, according to the Pinterest insider, Eric Cochran, the account was labeled as "porn," which meant Pinterest users were not able to pin any links to the Live Action website.

Cochran released insider documents confirming his claim, which also revealed that "bible verses" and keywords tied to Christianity were also added to the blacklist, in an effort to censor the content on the site.

After blowing the whistle on Pinterest's actions, Cochran was fired, and the ban of Live Action remains in effect.

The National Catholic Register provides more information.
Alison Centofante, Live Action's director of external affairs, posted a screenshot June 11 of an email from Pinterest informing Live Action that their account was “permanently suspended because its content went against our policies on misinformation.” 
“We don’t allow advice on Pinterest that may have immediate and detrimental effects on a Pinner’s health or on public safety,” the communication read. 
Live Action founder Lila Rose shared a second email from Pinterest support that said the account was suspended because of “medically inaccurate information and conspiracies that turn individuals and facilities into targets for harassment and violence.” 
Despite Live Action’s suspension for purported “immediate and detrimental” health effects of their pro-life materials, pins linking to websites that offered “20 Best Ways to Induce a Miscarriage Naturally at Home” were still active and available on Pinterest June 13. 
Before Live Action’s total ban, documents released Tuesday by former software engineer-turned whistleblower Eric Cochran show that Live Action was intentionally marked as a “pornographic” site, thus suppressing users’ ability to link to LiveAction.org’s content. 
The documents also allege that Pinterest employees labeled Christianity-related terms like “christian easter” and “bible verses” as “sensitive” search terms, meaning those terms would not show up in autocomplete search results on the site.

This tweet by Live Action demonstrates how Pinterest was suppressing pro-life content.

This tweet includes video of an interview with Eric Cochran.

Although we will no longer use Pinterest, and have deleted most of our pins, we are keeping our accounts open, to protect our brand from being used by anyone else.

We are posting this image on our accounts, and encourage others to do the same. It is scaled to fit perfectly on Pinterest.

We are also listing companies who advertise on Pinterest, by way of promoted pins. They include Arm and Hammer Baking Soda, Blue Bunny Ice Cream, Cracker Barrel, Dr. Marty, G-Plans, The Home Depot, NUTrition, Progressive Insurance, and Wikibuy. More companies will be added as we confirm them as advertisers.