Jul 11, 2022 - Technology

Klobuchar, Warren press Meta on "censoring" of abortion posts

Illustration of a pattern of Facebook thumbs down.

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wrote to leadership at Meta last week to press the company about reports it has been "censoring posts containing accurate information about abortion" since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, according to a letter shared exclusively with Axios.

Driving the news: Klobuchar and Warren wrote to Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri July 7.

  • The two senators referred to various news reports that Facebook and Instagram have removed posts about legally obtaining abortion services, added "sensitivity screens" to posts and suspended accounts sharing information about abortion access altogether.

What they're saying: "It is more important than ever that social media platforms not censor truthful posts about abortion, particularly as people across the country turn to online communities to discuss and find information about reproductive rights,” Sens. Klobuchar and Warren wrote.

Details: They ask Mosseri and Zuckerberg to answer a number of questions about their policies by July 15, including:

  • what measures Facebook and Instagram employ to flag abortion-related posts;
  • how many abortion-related posts have been removed since June 24;
  • how many abortion-related hashtags have been removed or blocked since the same date;
  • what steps users can take to contest an alleged violation of platform policies;
  • how many abortion-related posts have been reinstated after further review;
  • what steps the platforms are taking to ensure abortion-related posts aren't taken down in error; and
  • a request for a copy of company guidance and training materials on abortion-related posts for 2021.

The other side: Meta spokesman Andy Stone had said last month some of the posts were taken down due to improper application of Meta's policy against buying, selling, trading, gifting or requesting pharmaceuticals.

Our thought bubble: This is just the beginning of the challenges online platforms will face from all sides in moderating content related to reproductive medicine as many states move to outlaw abortion.

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