The Iona Institute for Religion and Society finds itself the latest victim of Facebook’s suppression of conservative ideas and speech. In a statement posted to their website, Iona informed their supporters that, “Facebook has censored our new ‘still one of us’ ad campaign which we launched last week.” The censored Facebook ad was simply promoting a pro-life campaign and featured a photo of a baby in a mother’s womb.
Facebook censors our new 'still one of us' ad campaign https://t.co/cbeDZY3sL5
— Iona Institute (@ionainstitute) May 14, 2019
Iona’s statement goes on to explain:
The campaign is currently running on a number of billboards in various parts of the country and we had extended the campaign to Facebook where we were paying a small amount (€150 in total) to bring it to a wider audience. The company said the image of an unborn child that appears in the ad comes under the heading of ‘graphic’ or ‘violent’ imagery.
Located in Dublin, Ireland, the Iona Institute is a small Catholic think tank:
[P]romotes the place of marriage and religion in society. Our starting point in debates about the family is that children deserve the love of their own mother and father whenever possible. We believe in the public funding of both denominational schools and other types of schools that reflect the wishes of parents in an increasingly diverse society. We also promote freedom of conscience and religion and the right to life.
Almost a year ago (May 28, 2018), Ireland overturned the country’s ban on abortion. The new abortion policy went into effect January 1, 2019, and has stirred up quite a bit of controversy in the once staunchly Roman Catholic nation. Iona Institute is one voice among many vigilantly defending the rights of pre-born humans. Per usual, Facebook is more concerned with pacifying leftists than they are with helping defend the most vulnerable humans of our society. The idolatry of self that dominates Western society is literally killing humans.
Of less importance than the protection of pre-born humans, though important, nonetheless, is Facebook’s continued censoring of conservative voices and thought. To be sure, Facebook is a private company and people voluntarily choose to use the social media platform or not, but the nature of how information is disseminated and consumed makes Facebook’s censorship troubling. Deeming an image of an unborn baby as “graphic” or “violent” tips their hand. Facebook isn’t concerned about protecting their users. They’re concerned with protecting leftist ideology.
When the public square moves, as it’s done since the advent of social media, rules and expectations about society’s ability to freely exchange ideas need to move, too. The common rebuttal that conservatives should start their own social media site is dangerously absurd. Even if it were possible, sequestering ourselves into the left and the right even more than we already are will create impenetrable echo chambers ensuring the demise of our society. It is incumbent on social media platforms like Facebook to protect and preserve the revered belief that the free exchange of ideas helps ensure a robust and healthy community. Sadly, their censorship of Iona continues to demonstrate that Facebook is more concerned about promoting leftist ideology than they are a healthy community.