People on social media are accusing Twitter of censorship involving the page of the new pro-life movie, Unplanned.
First, Twitter briefly suspended the movie’s page. Then, on March 31, 2019, numerous Twitter users reported that they weren’t able to follow the movie’s page and that the page was reporting wildly different and changing Twitter follower counts (this author tried to follow the movie as an experiment and, at first, it didn’t stick, but then it did.) Prominent conservative writer Michelle Malkin filmed a video showing the problems.
The movie showcases the real-life story of Abby Johnson, who was a Planned Parenthood clinic director before she changed into an anti-abortion activist because of what she witnessed on the job.
Here’s what you need to know:
Twitter Did, in Fact, Briefly Suspend the Movie’s Page
It's true that Twitter briefly suspended the page for Unplanned. The suspension and restoration occurred on the movie’s opening weekend on Saturday, March 30, 2019, and it led to a flurry of outrage against Twitter from conservative and pro-life circles.
“Nearly 8K new followers to our Unplannedmovie page in the last hour since @Twitter suspended and reinstated our account,” the movie’s page said in a tweet after the suspension was lifted. “We are truly grateful and blessed at by the outpouring of support we have seen. Thank you everyone for taking the time to go out and see Unplanned this weekend.”
However, that wasn’t the end of the story. By the next day, Sunday, people were reporting strange happenings with the movie’s Twitter page follower accounts.
Why was the page suspended in the first place? According to the Hollywood Reporter, Twitter claimed it didn’t purposely suspend the Unplanned movie page. The page was suspended because it “was linked to another account that had violated Twitter’s rules,” according to THR. Twitter reviewed the suspension and decided to reverse it.
“It is a sad time we live in when corporations can remove individuals freedom of speech at will. When did we empower these corporations to have such authority? More importantly, why do we empower them to do so?” Cary Solomon, a co-writer of the movie, told THR.
People Said They Weren’t Able to Follow Unplanned on Twitter
Look at the follower count in the page’s own screenshot above from March 30: 18,300 followers. The page had only 16,800 around 11:24 p.m. on March 31.
Other screenshots showed the page once had 100,000 followers and then plummeted. “WOW: First @UnplannedMovie’s Twitter account was suspended, and now Twitter unilaterally removed roughly 85,000 of their followers,” wrote political strategist Mike Tokes. “Many users who followed the account are saying they have somehow unfollowed, and cannot follow them again. This is conservative censorship.”
Others showed the page once having more than 200,000 followers.
Many people wrote on Twitter that they were having problems following the movie’s page. People posted videos to prove that they were not being allowed to follow the movie’s page.
One man wrote, “So I followed ~1 hour ago. Looked now thinking no way they are that blatant about it. But sure as sh*t stinks its unfollowed.” Another wrote, “My follows keep getting removed to. Hey @TwitterSupport Why are you trying to censor Unplanned?”
Another man wrote, “Just moments ago, I was finally able to successfully follow the account. But now, instead of 100k or 250k followers, they appear to be stuck at 16.4k.”