Claiming these violated corporate policies, Meta employees have been rushing to delete or flag posts offering abortion pills to women who may not have legal access to them in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision rescinding Roe vs. Wade.
According to media intelligence company Zignal Labs, over 250,000 posts across all social networks and television broadcasts have been counted since the Supreme Court overturned Roe. These were meant to help women living in states where abortion has remained illegal despite the 1973 decision that resulted in constitutional protection for women seeking the procedure and healthcare practitioners involved in its practice.
However, almost as soon as the Roe overturning was announced, social media company Meta began removing posts and advertisements for abortion pills and posts specifically mentioning the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol from Facebook and Instagram.
Questionable Policy Enforcement
According to Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta, company policy for both networks specifically prohibits individual users from selling pharmaceutical products on its platforms, as well as guns, alcohol, and controlled substances like marijuana. He did add, however, that there have been issues regarding the enforcement of the said policy.
Indeed, Facebook users have noted discrepancies in that policy. A case in point involved an experiment wherein a reporter made a post telling women in need to send their address so that they could send over abortion pills. The post was removed almost as soon as it came online.
Likewise, Facebook warned against the reporter’s account, stating that it violated the platform’s policy regarding guns, animals, and other regulated goods. However, when the same reporter replaced abortion pills with marijuana or guns, they noted that the posts were allowed to remain and were not considered in violation of any policies.
Under federal law, marijuana is still considered an illegal substance. It is also illegal to ship it or send it via mail. On the other hand, until the reversion of Roe, abortion pills could be legally ordered and shipped through the mail following an online consultation with qualified healthcare practitioners who have undergone training and hold the necessary certifications.
Likewise, despite a statement by US Attorney General Merrick Garland calling on states not to ban mifepristone, Republican lawmakers have already begun preventing citizens in their jurisdiction from ordering it and other abortifacients through the mail. They have also started imposing a prohibition on healthcare providers to keep prescribing such drugs to their patients.