Facebook and Instagram are removing posts from users that offer help accessing abortion pills, saying they violate a policy around pharmaceuticals.
Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade on Friday, social media users have shared posts offering to mail abortion pills to people whose access to abortion has been stripped away or will be soon.
But users are finding their offers quickly removed or restricted, as reported by Motherboard and the Associated Press. A test Facebook post by an AP reporter offering to mail abortion pills was removed within one minute. A test by a Verge reporter yielded similar results, with a post offering abortion pills being flagged within two minutes.
The sale, gifting, and transfer of firearms and marijuana are also prohibited under the same section of Meta’s restricted goods policy that bans pharmaceuticals. Yet test posts by the AP that offered to mail guns and weed were not removed; a similar test by The Verge offering to mail cannabis wasn’t immediately removed by Facebook.
In response to reporting, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone tweeted on Monday that “content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals is not allowed.” Stone says that posts containing information on the “affordability and accessibility of prescription medication” is allowed and that the company was correcting instances of “incorrect enforcement.”
Meta did not respond immediately to questions seeking clarification on how the policy is enforced and what might explain the discrepancies.
In the days following the reversal of Roe, social media has become a key tool in spreading word of available abortion resources.
But moderation decisions by social media companies have caused some major resource providers to lose access to their platforms right as the need has become especially acute. Abortion Finder, a site that allows patients to search for care providers, was briefly suspended from Instagram on Sunday, with Meta citing its restricted goods policy, according to NBC News. The account has since been restored.