FILE – Boxes of the drug mifepristone line a shelf at the West Alabama Women’s Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Wednesday, March 16, 2022. Facebook and Instagram have begun promptly removing posts that offer abortion pills to women who may not be able to access them following a Supreme Court decision that stripped away constitutional protections for the procedure. (AP Photo/Allen G. Breed, File)

Meta said some posts about abortion pill access were removed due to “incorrect enforcement” of its policies after reports cited posts being blocked.  

Meanwhile, Republican senators are pressing President Biden to take action on security concerns the GOP raised about TikTok.  

This is Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Send tips to The Hill’s Rebecca KlarChris Mills Rodrigo and Ines Kagubare. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

Meta: ‘Incorrect enforcement’ on abortion pills posts

Posts about access to abortion pills through mail were blocked on Facebook due to an “incorrect enforcement” of the platform’s policies, a Meta spokesperson said.  

Spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted that Meta, Facebook’s parent company “discovered some instances” in which its policy banning attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals was incorrectly enforced and added that the company is correcting them. 

  • Stone’s tweet was in response to a Motherboard report published Monday about the platform removing posts from users who mentioned that abortion pills can be mailed. 
  • A reporter for the outlet tested out the block by attempting to post the phrase “abortion pills can be mailed” on Facebook with a burner account. The post was flagged within seconds for violating the platform’s community standards.  
  • The Associated Press reported that a test post from a reporter offering to mail abortion pills was also removed, but when “abortion pills” was swapped out for “a gun” or “weed” it remained on the platform. The AP reported that posts about abortion pills were also removed on Instagram, which is also owned by Meta. 

Read more here.

GOP presses Biden on TikTok

A group of Senate Republicans led by Sens. Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Tom Cotton (Ark.) is pressing the Biden administration over what it sees as a failure to take seriously the national security concerns posed by TikTok, a popular video-hosting service.   

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the lawmakers said the administration has failed to enforce an August 2020 order by former President Trump directing ByteDance, the Chinese company that owns TikTok, to divest its American assets and destroy any data it acquired through TikTok.   

  • “The Biden administration has seemingly done nothing to enforce the Aug. 14 order nearly two years since its promulgation. The results of the security reviews, likewise, have not been publicly released after one year,” the senators wrote.   
  • The lawmakers pointed out that media reports indicate Oracle has secured a deal to store all of TikTok’s U.S. data but argued that won’t address their national security concerns.   

Read more here.


Airbnb announced Tuesday that its temporary ban on house parties and events will now be permanent

The short-term rental company first introduced the policy in 2020 as a way to comply with social distancing guidelines for the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Over time, the party ban became much more than a public health measure,” the company wrote in a blog post. “It developed into a bedrock community policy to support our Hosts and their neighbors.” 

The now permanent policy bans “disruptive parties and events,” which include open-invite gatherings, at all Airbnb rentals. 

Read more about the announcement.


An op-ed to chew on: Biden must rally against a Russia-led UN ‘cybercrime treaty’ 

Notable links from around the web: 

Facebook Labels Abortion Rights Vandals As Terrorists Following Roe Reversal (The Intercept / Sam Biddle) 

Google spam proposal sparks partisan backlash in Washington (The Verge / Makena Kelly) 

The pro-Trump web raced to debunk Jan. 6 testimony. Then they got confused (The Washington Post / Drew Harwell)

One more thing: Pelosi’s data push

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Monday outlined several proposals House Democrats are weighing in response to the Supreme Court’s Friday ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, which had established a constitutional right to abortion.

In a letter to her troops, Pelosi said Democrats have been bracing for the high court’s action since a draft ruling was published by Politico early last month. 

Pelosi cited three specific proposals that House Democrats are considering — including one to protect reproductive health data, such as that stored on apps, from being collected and distributed to third parties. 

Read more here.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s Technology and Cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.


Tags Biden Janet Yellen Nancy Pelosi Roger Wicker

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