Fallout of Roe v Wade: Facebook and Instagram remove posts offering abortion pills

Facebook and Instagram, owned by Meta, reportedly blocked posts offering abortion pills to women following the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of the Roe v. Wade judgment, which declared abortion access a constitutional right.

According to the AP news agency, several Instagram accounts of abortion rights groups found their posts or stories hidden with a warning describing the posts as “sensitive content”.

Instagram said it was working to fix the issue on Tuesday, describing it as a “bug”.

As soon as the Supreme Court decision was made public, several memes and status updates exploded on social media platforms explaining how women could legally obtain abortion pills. Some have even offered to send the prescriptions to women living in states that now ban the procedure.

According to analysis by media intelligence firm Zignal Labs, general mentions of abortion pills, as well as posts mentioning specific versions such as mifepristone and misoprostol, suddenly spiked Friday morning across Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and TV shows. television.

To test whether the posts were indeed being deleted, an AP reporter ran a test on Facebook, offering to send abortion pills in the post. It was removed within a minute. Another test by a Verge reporter yielded similar results, with a post offering abortion pills reported within two minutes.

However, other posts offering “a gun” or “weed” were not flagged or deleted, the AP reported.

Read also | It’s not over yet: Women seek ‘sex strike’ to reclaim US abortion rights

The sale, gift, and transfer of firearms and marijuana are prohibited under Meta’s Restricted Goods Policy. Still, AP testing posts that offered to send in guns and weed weren’t removed; a similar test by The Verge offering to send cannabis by mail was not immediately removed by Facebook.

Read also | Roe v. Wade Overturned: A Comparative Analysis of Indian and US Abortion Laws

In response to the reports, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted on Monday that “Content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, give, request or give pharmaceuticals is not authorized”. Stone says posts with information about “prescription drug affordability and accessibility” are permitted, and the company corrects cases of “incorrect application.”

(With agency contributions)

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