If social conservatives think they’re going to get a fair hearing from the overlords of the digital public square, they are sorely mistaken. Consider this, from the Washington Examiner:
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg recently donated $1 million to Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political arm of Planned Parenthood. According to the Huffington Post, Sandberg’s donation is a response to the recent wave of restrictive abortion legislation in Republican states, including Alabama, Georgia, and Missouri. Planned Parenthood Action Fund organizes and endorses abortion-rights candidates in these states.
“I think this is a very urgent moment were the rights and the choices and the basic health of the most vulnerable women — the women who have been marginalized, often women of color — are at stake,” she said. “And so all of us have to do our part to fight these draconian laws.”
Sandberg, a prominent supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, donated $1 million to Planned Parenthood in 2017. She said her most recent donation was a personal one and not associated with Facebook. The Facebook executive’s hefty donation comes as social media platforms face increasing scrutiny for alleged censorship of anti-abortion organizations.
Last fall, Facebook banned an ad by anti-abortion organization Susan B. Anthony List because the ad, which contained pictures of ultrasounds and newborn infants, “featured sensational or graphic content.” In June, Pinterest banned anti-abortion group Live Action, claiming the organization’s content was pornography and spread misinformation. Twitter and Instagram have faced similar accusations.
Sandberg did not take a stance on corporate boycotts of states with restrictive abortion laws, such as Georgia, which has seen Hollywood production companies threaten to leave the state. Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen thanked the Facebook COO “for her longstanding commitment to Planned Parenthood.”
“Now, more than ever Sheryl’s generous support is necessary to help Planned Parenthood fight back against unprecedented attacks on people’s health and rights,” Wen said in a statement. “As anti-women’s health politicians try to pass extreme abortion bans across the country, our freedom and rights hand in the balance.”
Abortion activists and their political allies are constantly trying to get pro-lifers banned from the physical public square, and with social media we have the new, 21st century public square where most discussions take place—and they are owned by hardcore progressives who are already terrified that their platforms contributed to the defeat of Hillary Clinton. Further to that, freedom of speech does not yet apply to privately-owned platforms, and libertarians and conservatives are very reluctant to insert the government into what appears to be a no-win situation for those on the Right.
So what do conservatives do when progressives own the platforms on which nearly all of our significant political conversations (unfortunately) now take place? The answer to that question is currently being debated hotly, and there is as of yet no agreement on the Right. We appear to be stuck between a rock and a hard place—but more on that later.
For anyone interested, my book on The Culture War, which analyzes the journey our culture has taken from the way it was to the way it is and examines the Sexual Revolution, hook-up culture, the rise of the porn plague, abortion, commodity culture, euthanasia, and the gay rights movement, is available for sale here.