Pinterest Blacklists PJ Media, Other Conservative Sites and This Is Just the Tip of the Censorship Iceberg

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This week we learned from a brave whistleblower that Pinterest, a site known primarily for recipes and home decorating ideas, is blocking content from websites that their Orwellian-monikered Trust and Safety team in San Francisco find offensive—by dishonestly labeling them as po*n sites. PJ Media is one of several conservative sites being blocked by the platform.

What was revealed at Pinterest this week, however, is just the tip of the censorship iceberg—and things will likely only get worse as our nation becomes increasingly polarized and the Big Brothers of Big Tech become more emboldened and less secretive about their hostility toward conservatives.

First, let's review what we learned this week. Project Veritas highlighted the blacklisting issues involved, which include:

  •  Insider: Search Term “Christian” Won’t Auto-Complete, Others Can’t Trend, No Notifications, or Recommendations
  •  Pinterest Blacklisted Pro-Life Group LiveAction.org, Classified as “Pornography,” Cannot Link to Site
  •  Leaked “Sensitive Terms List” Includes “bible verses” and “christian easter”
  •  Ben Shapiro Commentary Censored in “zero tolerance moment,” Slack Messages Reveal
  •  Planned Parenthood Undercover Videos Marked as “harmful” Conspiracy

I navigated over to Pinterest—which went public in April of this year, raising $1.5 billion in its initial offering—to find out if PJM has been blacklisted and indeed it appears it has. I tried to "pin" several of our articles there, including Stephen Green's completely innocuous and apolitical review of Apple's new monitor stand and sure enough, Pinterest blocked it due to "inappropriate content."

PJM's Debra Heine tried to post a link to a PJM article about a Trump rally and got the same message:

 

Worse, when I tried to add an image to the pin and clicked "save from site," which ordinarily brings up images from the website you're linking to, I got this message:

Of course, we don't allow nudity on PJM—in fact, it is our editorial policy to blur it out when it appears in an image that is necessary to explain a story. We are not a po*rn site either, although we do write about it from time to time, most often in the context of pointing out its deleterious effects on the culture and on the relationships between men and women. That doesn't stop the Big Brothers of Big Tech from categorizing us that way in order to shut us up.

PJM reached out to Pinterest for an explanation but received no reply.

Pinterest engineer—pardon me, former engineer, he's now been fired—Eric Cochran, the courageous whistleblower, leaked internal Slack messages and other documentation from Pinterest showing that several other conservative sites, including Live Action, Zero Hedge, and TeaParty.org, were on the "po*n domain" list, their content blocked from the platform.

Are you wondering why I'm not typing out the word po*n? It's because the algorithms and human censors are constantly sniffing around, looking for an excuse to push conservative sites out of the marketplace of ideas. Even writing about the dangers of po*rn can get you banished from sites like Pinterest and get your site put on the blacklists of ad networks who then demonetize you.

Pinterest, like other Big Tech bullies who have gotten caught censoring conservatives, issued a whoops-we-made-a-mistake statement and took Live Action off the po*n list. Then they reversed their decision and banned the site again, saying there were inadvertently put on the po*n list when they should have been on the "conspiracy" and ant-vaccination lists (as if that makes it better).

If you think Pinterest is alone in this dishonest blacklisting of conservative sites, I've got some swamp land to sell you. As we've seen in report after report after report after report, the social media platforms—owned and run almost exclusively by far-left ideologues who think "conservative" is a synonym for Hitler—are quietly working behind the scenes to silence opinions they find detestable, and like Pinterest, they're using sneaky little coded labels to keep conservatives off their platforms. On the front lines of the war to control the marketplace of ideas are the issues of abortion and LGBTQ rights. The cultural and sexual revolutionaries will brook no dissent on these two issues, believing that those on the conservative side deserve not only censure but exclusion from the marketplace. Think I'm exaggerating? Here's what Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, told the Des Moines Register this week:

I think there are some issues that have such moral clarity that we have, as a society, decided that the other side is not acceptable. Imagine saying that it's okay to appoint a judge who's racist, or antisemitic, or homophobic, telling, asking someone to appoint someone who takes away basic human rights of any group of people in America. I don't think that those are political issues anymore... There is no moral equivalency when you come to racism, and I do not believe there is a moral equivalency when it comes to changing laws that deny women reproductive freedom.[Emphasis added]

In other words, if you disagree with Gillibrand, who believes that mothers and doctors should be able to kill unborn children up until the moment of birth (and maybe even after), you should not be allowed to work in this country. Coastal elites like Gillibrand and the Trust and Safety official from Pinterest think the views of conservatives are so beyond the pale that they must be silenced, banned from the public square. Moreover, they've declared these issues beyond debate, announcing that a "consensus" has been arrived at and therefore there is no need for further discussion. Never mind that half the country disagrees with them.

I've said this many times before and I'll continue to repeat the warning: in the very near future, we'll see draconian workplace rules that preclude religious and social conservatives being employed in a variety of fields, especially those that require professional credentialing or government licensure. That's what Gillibrand is hinting at with her conflation of racism and pro-life views. In her view, there is no difference, and just like we would not employ an openly racist teacher or doctor, no one should employ an individual who believes that pre-born children should not be slaughtered. And the same goes for those who do not enthusiastically applaud every new iteration of the totalitarian sexual revolution.

There's no easy way out of this mess—perhaps no way out at all. All of the solutions that have thus far been proposed—breaking up the tech monopolies, removing federal Section 230 protections from social media platforms, and creating alternatives to them—are fraught with possible unintended consequences that could make things even worse. Whistleblowers like Cochran offer some hope. Perhaps there are more who will come forward to expose what's going on in the board rooms and on Slack channels at the Big Tech giants. And maybe, just maybe, they'll realize that marginalizing half of America is bad for business and change their ways.

Don't hold your breath.

Follow me on Twitter @pbolyard