A pro-life organization claims they are being “shadow banned” on Instagram because of their pro-life message.
In a statement, Let Them Live said that their posts aren’t appearing on Instagram hashtag feeds, a problem they say is harming their organization’s ability to do outreach to young people.
Let Them Live believes their posts were removed from the hashtag feeds starting on May 11. In a spreadsheet given to The Daily Wire, Let Them Live claims they received more than 30,000 engagements on their posts from hashtags on March 27. On May 11, the account received zero engagements from hashtag feeds despite having 30 hashtags on their posts that day.
On their posts, the group uses hashtags such as #Feminism, #UnbornRights, #ChooseLife and #AbortionIsWrong.
“We will not let social media bullies push us out of the public square,” Emily Berning, the president of Let Them Live, said in the statement.
In an interview with The Daily Wire, Berning said she believes her organization is being targetted because of its pro-life message.
“It is especially concerning to us that we were removed from hashtags like #Feminist and #Abortion because it should be a discussion with voices represented from both sides,” Berning said. “The fact that Instagram completely shadow-banned our account without notice is highly concerning. We do have an internal connection at Facebook that filed an internal report, and we are waiting to hear back on the details of that.”
Berning said the group’s Instagram page is fundamental in their mission because it has “been the best platform when it comes to identifying new, young pro-life advocates.”
“It is the second most active of our social media accounts, with some individual posts reaching nearly 100,000 accounts,” Berning added. “Instagram is a critical battleground for the pro-life movement because a large percentage of the platform consists of teenagers and people in their early 20s, many that haven’t been exposed to the pro-life viewpoint.”
Let Them Live plans to hold a rally at Instagram’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 12.
“We will bring our concerns to the press and directly to Instagram at a Rally Against Censorship of Pro-lifers,” Berning said. She also said that the purpose of the rally is to “encourage Instagram to come to the table and discuss ways we can combat both deliberate and unintended censorship of conservative and pro-life voices on its platform.”
Berning believes that it is possible for accounts to be unintentionally suspended when mass reported by other users, but says this may not be what happened in their situation.
“Our posts have been reported hundreds of times and this may have triggered the shadow ban,” she said. “However, it is unlikely that it is unintentional censorship due to the fact that we submitted over 50 appeals in the last month, and some of those appeals may have been reviewed by Instagram workers.”
Let Them Live is working with Pro-Life San Francisco and other national groups in organizing the rally and expects hundreds to attend.
Berning said that she has reported the incident to the White House’s new tech bias form and believes the tool will “help to start a conversation around censorship of pro-life and conservative voices on social media.”
According to their website, Let Them Live is an organization with the “mission to end abortion by identifying, training, and mobilizing pro-lifers on a local level.” Berning said the group also assists expecting mothers financially and emotionally.
Berning and her husband, Nathan Berning, founded the organization in 2017 and travel around the country to advance their cause. The couple also spent time in Ireland with 12 other activists prior to the country’s referendum on abortion.
The Bernings plan to resume their #TakePinkBackTour full time in which they will travel around the country in an airstream trailer championing activism and organizing rallies. So far, they have visited over 25 college campuses in several states including New York and Texas.