In case you’ve been living under a rock, there have been a number of cases of censorship, demonetization, and discrimination against Christians in social media this summer. More specifically, I deleted my Pinterest profile because they betrayed me and my audience.
I’m a Christian and I would be a liar if I kept supporting a company that doesn’t want my kind there. If I continued to share my content on their platform, I’m not standing by my values.
Platforms vs. Publishers
We’re at a crossroads where social media companies need to answer a big question:
Are you a publisher or a platform?
I’d like to establish my expertise on this topic before I explain my question.
I have more than a decade’s experience in marketing, particularly social media marketing. I’ve written for tech blogs about social media. I’ve helped publishers, bloggers, and small businesses run social media campaigns.
I also have a journalism degree, so I really know my ethics. I’m appalled at the amount of censorship happening in our country. Investigative journalists being blocked from Twitter for exposing Pinterest’s action against Live Action (a nonprofit that shares sonogram images on Pinterest) seems rather harsh.
Why Social Media Companies Aren’t Publishers
However, social media companies aren’t publishers. They’re (mostly) publicly traded companies that offer independent publishers a platform to share content (photos, articles, links, opinions) with friends, family, customers, and supporters.
A platform (or company) is well within their right to offer terms of service to use their “real estate.” A publisher has the right to limit what they publish and who produces content for them. However, what’s not cool is the “secret” restricting of search terms and the banning of accounts that don’t meet some contrived standards.
The Betrayal – You’re a Partner, Right?
In addition to my work as a freelance blogger and social media marketer, I have used social media to promote my own blog for years. I’ve recently dedicated more of my time to using social media to drive traffic to my blog. I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time working on images and a “Pinterest strategy” to make my content more appealing on this particular social network.
Pinterest and others invite publishers (bloggers, nonprofits, personalities, businesses, celebrities, and just about anyone with a camera and keyboard) to become a partner in their business.
These social media platforms offer you a place to share your content in exchange for exposing your supporters, friends, patrons, and clients to their advertising. If your content drives enough traffic, they share revenue with you. They also invite you to pay money to put that content in front of more users.
What About Transparency?
It sounds a lot like real estate doesn’t it? Real estate agents offer sellers a spot on their website and access to their customer lists in exchange for a commission if they make a sale. Good real estate agents will actively market your property and make suggestions on how to improve its image for buyers. However, they have to abide by some ethics and laws in order to avoid fines and prosecution.
It seems incredibly unfair to the people they asked to build a channel, page or profile to be censored, demonetized, or banned without much discussion or warning.
What about social media companies? Are they being fair to their users by secretly blocking search terms like “Christian” and adding a pro-life advocacy group’s website to a “pornography” list?
Don’t the social media companies have an obligation to be up-front with their users if they have an agenda? They court and depend on independent publishers for content and audience. Shouldn’t they be held accountable for being transparent and fair to their members?
It seems like they’ve forgotten who helped them become the multi-billion dollar companies they are. It also seems incredibly unfair to the people they asked to build a channel, page or profile to be censored, demonetized, or banned without much discussion or warning.
Why I Deleted My Pinterest Profile
I wanted to give you that background before I explained why I deleted my Pinterest profile.
I’m a Christian and I’m a blogger who writes about Christ’s influence on her life. I agreed to follow My Savior and His ways in exchange for eternal life. I would be a liar if I kept supporting a company that doesn’t want my kind there. If I continued to share my content on their platform, I’m not standing by my values.
However, the blocking of Live Action’s website from Pinterest was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.
I’m eternally pro-life because I could be one of those babies who didn’t get a chance to live.
I’m not affiliated with the pro-life advocacy group, but I advocate for life every chance I get.
I’ve been extremely open about my personal experience with medical abortion. I had one 8 years ago. It saved my life, but my baby died. It was the worst experience of my life.
And if I can be an encouragement to a woman who is facing the choice to have an abortion or support to a woman who has been through an elective or medical abortion procedure, then I’m going to do it without shame.
My own mother was told to abort me by her boss in 1980. She was asked to “take care of her little problem” or she wouldn’t be allowed to keep her job. I’m so thankful my mother chose life. She chose my life, and I’m eternally pro-life because I could be one of those babies who didn’t get a chance to live.
So, I’m going to support a nonprofit that stands for the same thing I stand for – life. I’m not going to stand by a company that is unwilling to share its agenda in its terms of service. That’s not ethical. And it’s not worth sharing my audience with a company that doesn’t value them.
A Loss for the Cross I Agreed to Carry
I struggled with whether to delete my Pinterest profile in protest of their recent actions. Deleting this account means I’m going to have to look elsewhere for ways to market my blog. It means that I lost access to years of saved content that I use for blog research, homeschool planning, and hours of work I won’t get back.
I urge my fellow Christian friends, bloggers, and publishers to think about how this Pinterest move – the restricting of the search term “Christian” and the blocking of a nonprofit that stands for life – affects their values. I thought about it for two full days before I pulled the plug. I didn’t want to lose all that work, but we aren’t called to be weak. We’re called to stand firm for our faith and all the precious souls He created.
What will you do? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.