Look What Happened to This Right-to-Life Group on Facebook

Questions remain about the abrupt action by the social media site — which occurred with no warning

by Leah Jessen | Updated 17 May 2017 at 8:51 AM

A pro-life organization is calling for Facebook to “do a better job communicating with users” after the group said the social media site wrongfully shut down an advertising account last month.

“Facebook shut down our ad account after we posted about Grand Rapids’ abortionist being suspended,” the Right to Life of Michigan said in a Facebook message on Monday. “They said this real news story was ‘misleading.’ How was it fake news? We don’t know, because we can’t actually talk to a human being working for this social network to get an answer.”

“This news-feed algorithm … leaves social media users in the dark about their content and Facebook’s rules.”

The organization claims it received automated messages from Facebook once the account was suspended, on April 18, and is questioning how much review Facebook actually did on the matter.

“The ad was not misleading, clearly explaining that it was breaking news,” the organization wrote in a blog post May 15. “The facts in the story have been covered by well-respected local news outlets.”

Over the past year, the group says it ran 10 advertisements.

Related: A Hollywood Couple’s Pro-Life Instagram

The right-to-life group guessed that “a Facebook staff person hostile to pro-life views decided to block our ad account based on a personal animus or snap judgment,” the blog post says.

Apparently the ad had been blocked by mistake, according to Facebook.

“Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and we sometimes make mistakes,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement, according to The Detroit News. “This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologize for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ad.”

Facebook took further steps to resolve the issue on Tuesday.

“We’re happy to report that it seems our ad account is unblocked. So, thank you for liking or sharing our post yesterday, apparently you helped get a human to look at our account!” the Right to Life of Michigan Facebook account posted in the morning of May 16.

Related: The Newest Planned Parenthood Fetal-Tissue Scandal 

But Facebook “did not really explain what happened,” Chris Gast, director of the group, told The Detroit News. Right to Life of Michigan wants Facebook to be more transparent.

“Facebook’s status as a gatekeeper of information is already a troubling concern given their practice of filtering content to only certain viewers in users’ news feeds,” the organization’s blog post says. “This news-feed algorithm — utterly lacking in transparency — leaves social media users in the dark about their content and Facebook’s rules.”

“It leaves Facebook with an alarming means to restrict or exclude content it disagrees with politically,” the Michigan group says.

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