A new report by Project Veritas presents a series of accusations of political and ideological bias against conservatives, Christians, and pro-lifers behind the scenes at Pinterest, a social media platform with some 300 million active monthly users. Since the report was first released, Pinterest has taken action concerning one of the allegations.
In a video that includes testimony from a whistleblower who works for Pinterest, and whose identity is concealed in the video, Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe’s presents internal documents provided by the whistleblower showing what appear to be various means of censoring content, including a “porn site block list” that includes pro-life site LiveAction.org. Among the conservatives whose content has been censored by the site is Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro and some content produced by conservative outlets, including PJ Media.
“Project Veritas has received and published documents from an insider at Pinterest,” Project Veritas reported Monday. “The documents, which include product code, Slack messages, and internal policies, reveal terms and websites that Pinterest apparently censors.”
Among the claims presented by the whistleblower is that Shapiro was censored in a “zero tolerance moment,” terms related to Christianity are blocked from auto-complete, a video series exposing Planned Parenthood was included in a censor list as a “harmful” “conspiracy,” and LiveAction.org was included on a list of porn sites blocked by the platform, meaning no links to its content could be produced by users.
The video shows a screenshot from one of Pinterest’s internal Slack channels on which the Public Policy and Social Impact Manager instructs employees “to monitor the platform for ‘white supremacist’ content from individuals like conservative commentators Ben Shapiro and Candace Owens,” Project Veritas reports. Three days after that message, “ben shapiro muslim” and “ben shapiro islam” were added to a “Sensitive Terms List,” a list shown in the video.
The whistleblower also discusses ways in which Pinterest allegedly quietly censors or “hides” content, including by “silent removing,” which is the removal of content without notifying the user. The intent of this practice is to hide problematic or “harmful” material, including pornographic content, but the report suggests that the function can be used to censor content for political or ideological reasons. Among the content deemed “harmful” and conspiratorial are reports by David Daleiden on Planned Parenthood’s disturbing practices.
Since the report was initially published, O’Keefe says, Pinterest appears to have taken LiveAction.org off its porn list but has “permanently suspended” its account.
Asked why he’s come forward, the whistleblower told O’Keefe, “I think when public policies don’t match with how social media companies are actually implementing them, people have a right to know, people have a right to that transparency.”