For Immediate Release: Friday, May 7, 2021
Washington, DC — This week, Facebook announced it permanently removed LifeSiteNews from its platform following multiple violations of its community standards, including spreading anti-choice disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. This news also came just before the Facebook Oversight Board announced it had upheld the decision to ban Donald Trump from the platform, although they did leave room to revisit that decision.
LifeSiteNews is an anti-freedom, anti-choice website masquerading as a news outlet in order to spread disinformation to millions of people. In addition to being one of the largest purveyors of anti-choice disinformation, it has discouraged people from getting the COVID-19 vaccine, spread Islamophobia, promoted white supremacy, and raised money for anti-LGBTQ “conversion therapy.”
NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue released the following statement in response:
“This week, Facebook deplatformed LifeSiteNews, acknowledging the use of the page to spread dangerous disinformation related to COVID that threatens public health and wellbeing. This action proves what we know to be true: for years, LifeSiteNews and others who wrap themselves in a fig leaf of morality have peddled in white supremacy and falsehoods that harm marginalized people and promote vaccine disinformation during the worst pandemic of our lifetimes. While this news is welcome, it is by no means enough. NARAL will continue to hold accountable social media companies and document the extremism they allow to flourish on these platforms.”
NARAL and others in this space have been monitoring and mobilizing against LifeSiteNews for years leading up to this decision. In partnership with Media Matters, GLAAD, and Human Rights Campaign, NARAL directly urged Facebook to remove and ban LifeSiteNews from their platform.
This is not the first time LifeSiteNews has been deplatformed for spreading dangerous disinformation. When YouTube permanently deplatformed the site in February, NARAL predicted their reaction, telling Carter Sherman at Vice: “In response to this small sliver of accountability, we fully expect LifeSiteNews to falsely cry censorship and then attack YouTube itself. This is a key facet of the anti-choice playbook that we have seen time and time again.”
Once again, LifeSiteNews is making baseless accusations of anti-conservative bias concerning its deplatforming, even using the decision to fundraise to further spread disinformation. This is a deliberate strategy used by those on the far-right, pressuring social media companies into giving them preferential treatment. These disingenuous accusations of anti-conservative bias have given the Right an undue advantage online. This deliberate tactic to cry “censorship” aims to rile up their base and stoke the so-called culture war— ultimately, the same goals of their other disinformation campaigns.
For over 50 years, NARAL Pro-Choice America and its network of state affiliates and chapters have fought to protect and advance reproductive freedom—including access to abortion, contraception, and paid family leave—for every body. NARAL is powered by its more than 2.5 million members from every state and congressional district in the country, representing the 7 in 10 Americans who believe every person should have the freedom to make the best decision for themselves about if, when, and how to raise a family.