Meta Reassures Users That it Has Not Changed its Policies on Abortion-Related Content

Amid various reports that it’s restricting certain posts on abortion-related resources, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, Meta has reiterated that its stance on such has not changed, despite some recent errors in its systems.

This week, both Vice and NBC News have conducted their own investigations into the potential censorship of abortion-related content on Facebook and Instagram, with both finding that certain hashtags and posts appeared to have been restricted in Meta’s systems.

Meta spokesman Andy Stone responded to these claims, explaining that there has been no change in its official policies on such.

Content that attempts to buy, sell, trade, gift, request or donate pharmaceuticals is not allowed. Content that discusses the affordability and accessibility of prescription medication is allowed. We’ve discovered some instances of incorrect enforcement and are correcting these.

— Andy Stone (@andymstone) June 27, 2022

Instagram has since posted an update, noting that its sensitivity screens have been applied to certain posts that they shouldn’t, which is a glitch that it’s working to fix.

We’re hearing that people around the world are seeing our “sensitivity screens” on many different types of content when they shouldn’t be. We’re looking into this bug and working on a fix now https://t.co/95ebED8SRu

— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) June 28, 2022

Which seems very coincidental, and despite Meta’s assurances, I suspect that there may have been some internal shift to move in-line with the updated law, even, possibly, in regards to advising moderators to err a little more on the side of caution with such.

But the official line from Meta is that there’s been no definitive amendment to its policies as yet, and as such, there should be no impact on the sharing of content within the existing guidelines.

For reference, this is the official Facebook policy on what’s not allowed in relation to prescription medications, which Stone refers to in his tweet:

Meta restricted good policy  Meta Reassures Users That it Has Not Changed its Policies on Abortion-Related Content bG9jYWw6Ly8vZGl2ZWltYWdlL2ZiX3BvbGljeS5wbmc

Optional Caption

Retrieved from Meta on June 29, 2022

You would suspect that, maybe, at some stage, there could be additional legal requirements around such, in line with the Supreme Court ruling, but right now, there’s been no change, with Meta also presenting a full changelog of policy amendments here.

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