Facebook says ‘incorrect enforcement’ removed posts on abortion pill access

AP Photo/Richard Drew
The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York’s Times Square on March 29, 2018.

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 the 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.

Although Facebook’s policies restrict content that attempts to buy, sell or trade pharmaceutical drugs, it does not limit users from posting about abortion pills or their accessibility. 

That same policy is meant to apply to marijuana and guns, as well.

The Federal Drug Administration in December expanded access to abortion pills by allowing patients to obtain them by mail. 

Access to abortion pills by mail will likely be even more crucial for some people seeking abortions after the Supreme Court struck down Roe v. Wade, which established federal protections for abortion, last week.

Republican-led states have already been making moves to limit or ban access to the pills.

Tags abortion access abortion pills Meta
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