SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — Social media users are offering to mail abortion pills to people in need, but Facebook’s policies don’t allow that.
Since the landmark Supreme Court decision in the Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case last week which determined that receiving an abortion is not a constitutional right, people have been taking to social media to voice their dissent. Some users are even going so far as to offer mailing abortion pills to people in states where abortions are now illegal. However some users who posted about these plans reported losing some functions to their accounts.
KRON On is streaming news live now
Vice reported that Facebook is removing the posts of users who share status updates that say abortion pills can be mailed, and in some cases temporarily banning those users too. In an attempt to test the policy, a KRON4 employee was able to post “Abortion pills can be mailed,” “Pain pills can be mailed,” and “I will mail abortion pills,” without being flagged. It is unclear if the posts may be flagged for removal in the future.
KRON4 reached out to Facebook for a comment, and a representative for the company shared information on the Restricted Goods and Services policy which aims, “To encourage safety and deter potentially harmful activities, we prohibit attempts by individuals, manufacturers, and retailers to purchase, sell, raffle, gift, transfer or trade certain goods and services on our platform.”
According to the Facebook policy, content is not allowed that:
- Attempts to buy, sell or trade pharmaceutical drugs except when:
- Listing the price of vaccines in an explicit education or discussion context.
- Offering delivery when posted by legitimate healthcare e-commerce businesses.
- Attempts to donate or gift pharmaceutical drugs
- Asks for pharmaceutical drugs except when content discusses the affordability, accessibility or efficacy of pharmaceutical drugs in a medical context
A bigger concern that could arise from posting about illegal activity on Facebook is whether or not Facebook will provide your data to authorities if you are accused of a crime. Facebook’s Government Request for User Data states, “Each and every request we receive is carefully reviewed for legal sufficiency and we may reject or require greater specificity on requests that appear overly broad or vague.”
Data listed on the same policy page states that from July – December 2021 Facebook received 215,000 government requests for user data, and they complied by providing at least some data in 72.8% of those cases. It is unclear how Facebook might handle requests related to abortion medication sharing in the future.