Social Media Credited for Fueling Susan G. Komen / Planned Parenthood Controversy

Facebook / Twitter

It seems fitting that the same week Facebook filed to go public that the social media giant would have a big impact on a major, national issue.

Earlier this week, the Susan G. Komen Foundation decided to withdraw support for Planned Parenthood citing its policy of not funding organizations under Congressional investigation. Congressman Cliff Stearns (R-FL) is leading an effort in Congress to see if the women’s health organization used federal funding for abortion services, which is not permitted.

Today, the President of of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Cecile Richards, credited Facebook and Twitter with forcing Komen to reverse course on its plan to withhold funding.

“Facebook and Twitter, take a bow,” says Rene Lynch of the Los Angeles Times.

Planned Parenthood supporters flocked to Facebook and Twitter to protest Susan G. Komen’s decision, and their efforts brought the story to national prominence as the mainstream media picked up the story and ran with it.  Richards credited the social media giants with delivering such a barrage of criticism over the de-funding approximately $600,000 which was earmarked for breast health screenings and other routine services.

One organization, “Re-think the Pink”, sprouted up this week to protest Komen’s actions and generated approximately 19,000 Facebook fans on their “De-fund the Komen Foundation” page within 3 days of going live.

In a “Newsroom” article on the Planned Parenthood website, the organization claims it has raised approximately $3MM in donations in the past 72 hours. Additional their Facebook “Likes” and Twitter followers increased by thousands and thousands.

“It’s been incredible; we’re still sifting through the numbers,” Richards said during a media conference call this morning.

Meanwhile, the Komen foundation, an organization accustomed to praise and positive support on its Facebook page, was drowning in critical comments. “I absolutely believe the exposure on Facebook and Twitter really drove a lot of coverage by mainstream media,” Richards said. “I’ve never seen anything catch fire [like this.]”

Given the background that Planned Parent performs abortions and Susan G. Komen recently added a staunchly pro-life executive, Karen Handel, many people saw Komen as politicizing women’s health.

The uproar eventually led to today’s conciliation when Komen apologized and said it was modifying its internal guidelines that led the organization to originally withdraw funding.

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