• Sheet of paper Report

Obstacles to Autonomy: Post-Roe Removal of Abortion Information Online

report cover of Obstacles to Autonomy: Post-Roe Removal of Abortion Information Online
(Amnesty International)

Social media companies can play a crucial role in facilitating the enjoyment of reproductive health and rights, especially in settings where abortion is restricted or otherwise difficult to access. However, in the United States, where access to information about abortion is more important than ever, reproductive health and rights organizations are having their abortion-related content removed from social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. There was a reported spike in such content removal in the aftermath of the overturn of Roe v. Wade; as US states clamped down on abortion rights, and social media users flocked to the internet for information about abortion, abortion content was removed across social media.

Instances of abortion content being removed from social media post-Roe often have inadequate justification or appear to be a misapplication of platform guidelines. This content removal disrupts the flow of essential reproductive healthcare information. Information on medication abortion and how to access it is reported to be the content removed most frequently by social media platforms. Some organizations have had their accounts temporarily suspended for violating community guidelines without ever being told which guidelines they violated. Advocacy organizations, telehealth abortion providers, and reproductive health nonprofits have sought greater transparency when it comes to how platforms moderate abortion content, but many have remained in the dark about why their content or accounts have been taken down or temporarily suspended.

Stronger transparency around community guidelines and content moderation practices is essential to ensure accountability and to prevent arbitrary removal of vital reproductive health and rights information. Social media companies must recognize their impact and take decisive action to uphold human rights in both their policies and practices.

Read “Obstacles to Autonomy: Post-Roe Removal of Abortion Information Online.”