Fallout of Roe v Wade: Facebook, Instagram removing posts offering abortion pills

Edited By: C Krishnasai
New York City Updated: Jul 01, 2022, 02:56 PM(IST)

Posts on abortion pills being removed Photograph:( Reuters )

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However, other posts that offered 'a gun' or 'weed' were not flagged or removed

Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram are reportedly blocking posts offering abortion pills for women following the US Supreme Court overturning Roe v Wade judgemenet, which declared access to abortion a constitutional right.

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

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

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

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

To check if the posts were actually being removed, an AP reporter ran a test on Facebook, offering to mail 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 being flagged within two minutes.

However, other posts that offered “a gun” or “weed” were not flagged or removed, the AP reported.

Also read | It ain't over yet: Women look to go for 'sex strike' to get abortion rights back in US

The sale, gifting, and transfer of firearms and marijuana are prohibited under Meta’s restricted goods policy. Yet the test posts by the AP that offered to mail guns and weed were not removed; a similar test by The Verge offering to mail cannabis wasn’t immediately removed by Facebook.

Also read | Roe v. Wade overturned: Comparative analysis of Indian and American abortion laws

In response to reporting, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted on Monday that “content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals is not allowed.” Stone says that posts containing information on the “affordability and accessibility of prescription medication” is allowed and that the company was correcting instances of “incorrect enforcement.”

(With inputs from agencies)

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