Facebook removed a fact-check authored by doctors of a false anti-abortion video after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and three other Republicans complained, BuzzFeed News reports.
The fact-check, written by three doctors, was published two weeks ago and a link appeared next to two videos by the anti-abortion group Live Action and leader Lila Rose on Facebook. The fact-check informed viewers that the video contained false information and more than 2,000 people who follow the page received a notification that the video was false. The notification also said that the page had been categorized as “false news.”
"Your Page has reduced distribution and other restrictions because of repeated sharing of false news. People will also be able to see if a Page has a history of sharing false news," Facebook told the group, according to a screenshot they published.
Video falsely claimed abortion was never medically necessary:
“Though Rose said abortion is never medically necessary, the fact-check pointed out several medical conditions including pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and placenta previa can make abortion necessary to save a mother's life,” BuzzFeed News reported. “Rose has said in these scenarios, a doctor could instead deliver a baby early. But that's only possible when a fetus has developed enough to survive outside the womb, typically around 24 weeks, the fact-check said. The doctors also pointed to the case of Savita Halappanavar, a woman in Ireland who died after being denied an abortion."
Group calls doctors liars as GOP complains:
Live Action and the Republican senators -- Cruz, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley, North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer, and Indiana Sen. Mike Braun -- complained that the doctors could not be fair because one sits on the board of NARAL Pro-Choice America and another is a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, a group that aims to "improve access to comprehensive reproductive health care, including contraception and abortion, especially to meet the health care needs of economically disadvantaged patients."
Rose smeared the doctors as “abortionists” who “blatantly lied” about the video.
"Facebook is aggressively & publicly siding w/ the abortion lobby & actively shutting down pro-life educational content," she claimed.
The senators complained to Facebook that the doctors were not “neutral or objective” and accused Facebook of conservative bias.
Facebook told BuzzFeed they removed the fact-check while the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) investigates.
"We have been in touch with the IFCN which has opened an investigation to determine whether the fact checkers who rated this content did so by following procedures designed to ensure impartiality," a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed. "While the IFCN investigates, we are removing the relevant fact checks and have communicated this to the members of the US Senate who brought this specific concern to our attention.”