The New York Times published an op-ed by Rossalyn Warren on Friday lamenting the fact that Facebook is riddled with “fake” accounts promoting “fake news” and Warren wants Facebook to do something about it.
The “fake” news in question? The articles published by the likes of Live Action, LifeSiteNews, and others in the pro-life movement. Because, of course someone who’s pro-abortion isn’t going to like what’s published by pro-life groups.
Her gripe? That these sites “produce vast amounts of misinformation.” Ironically, her lengthy article only manages to mention one piece of “fake news,” and that is the claim that there’s a correlation between abortion and breast cancer.
She does bring up an important point—if there’s no link between abortion and breast cancer, pro-life groups should stop talking about it. But, in fact, science and medicine have proven there is a link. We’ve written extensively about it here and recommend this documentary for more information.
But even if the link was in question, shouldn’t we have the right to discuss it? Americans care deeply about cancer because it’s an ugly disease that’s touched all of us. I’ve lost three grandparents to it myself. So if there’s even a chance there’s a link between abortion and breast cancer, shouldn’t we be able to ask that question?
Apparently not, because even suggesting there might be a negative outcome of abortion is now “fake news.”
The problem, she claims, is that because people engage with more “anti-abortion” content than they do “abortion-rights” content, Facebook’s algorithm puts the content in front of more people.
Could it be this just demonstrates that the author cares a little bit more about this than the average Facebook user? Data reveals that if someone identifies as pro-life, that issue is of utmost importance to them, and is something they think about a lot. But if someone identifies as pro-choice, whether or not they ever talk or think much about it is not super important to them.
So it makes sense there would be more information on Facebook from pro-life sources, because in general, those are the people who care most in this conversation.
Does Ms. Warren want so badly for Facebook to crack down on this “fake news” that she’s willing for it to possibly happen for her pet issues? Because advocating for tighter regulation of free speech can be a dangerous thing.
Instead, perhaps Ms. Warren and others should have confidence in their own message and not worry about what others publish, especially if they believe it’s fake.
The beauty of the free marketplace of ideas, theoretically, is the truth always wins out.
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