Pinterest lands smack in the middle of the deplatforming wars

By Melissa Locker

Pinterest, the social media network best known for weed-themed wedding ideas, keto kebab recipes, and low-carb cupcake ideas, is wading into the political fray.

The site has permanently banned Live Action, the controversial anti-abortion group that published misleading videos about Planned Parenthood’s practices, for spreading misinformation and conspiracies.  The group is also one of the largest anti-choice groups sharing links on Facebook, according to an analysis by Media Matters.

The ban was reportedly put in place months ago, but it’s in the news now because right-wing activist group Project Veritas just reported that Pinterest had labeled its content as “porn.” On Tuesday morning, Live Action tweeted out the news that its website was on a list of “blocked pornography sites” on Pinterest, preventing users from pinning links to their boards.

Motherboard points out that sites frequently tag banned sites as porn to make it easier for AI-fueled internal content-management tools to remove or block sites en masse, not because they are considered “porn” per se. The categorization appears to be particularly galling to Live Action’s followers, with Live Action’s director of external affairs tweeting that Pinterest had “doubled down” on the ban and kept Live Action on its “pornography blocked list,” adding that, “It appears Live Action is the only pro-life group on this list, at this time.”

A Pinterest spokesperson explained in an email to Fast Company that the site “took action on several months ago for violating [its] misinformation policy related to conspiracies and health, and not for any other reason.” The spokesperson also noted that the site’s misinformation policy has been in place since 2017, and made it clear that “content from all viewpoints is permitted on the site.”

This isn’t the first time that Pinterest has taken a hard stance on misinformation and deplatformed a group. The company, whose stock debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in April, previously banned Alex Jones’s Infowars. It has also blocked anti-vaccine propaganda boards and made it nearly impossible to search for anti-vaxx boards on the site, deeming such content to be misinformation on the grounds of, you know, science.

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