If you post about being able to mail abortion pills to those who need it on Facebook, don’t be surprised if you get a warning — or even get your account restricted. A tipster told Motherboard that they were notified a minute after posting “I will mail abortion pills to any one of you” that their status update had been removed. When they tried to post about it again later, they were banned for it. Motherboard was able to replicate the scenario, and we were able to confirm it, as well. We tried posting “abortion pills can be mailed” on Facebook and were quickly notified that we violated the website’s Community Standards.
In the next slide explaining our infraction, Facebook said doesn’t allow users to buy, sell or exchange things such as tobacco, marijuana, recreational drugs and non-medical drugs. To test it out, we posted “I’m selling cigarettes,” “cigarettes can be mailed,” “anti-depressants can be mailed” and “painkiller pills can be mailed.” None of them got flagged. General posts such as “abortion is healthcare” didn’t get flagged either. As for our post that did get flagged, we were asked if we would like to accept Facebook’s enforcement action or not. After choosing to accept it, our post got removed but we didn’t get banned. According to Motherboard, their account got restricted for 24 hours after making several posts that got flagged.
It’s unclear when the website started removing posts about mailing out abortion pills and whether it only began after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court’s decision made all types of abortion illegal in several states with trigger laws, but people in those states can still get abortion pills shipped to them from international groups like Aid Access. Facebook could be preventing that information from getting to some people who need it, though, especially since it flags posts with “mail” and “abortion pills” even for international users. We posted from outside the US and still got a warning. “Some items aren’t regulated everywhere,” the slide explaining our violation reads, “but because Facebook is borderless we have global standards that apply to everyone.”
The New York Times also recently reported that Facebook’s parent company, Meta, told employees not to discuss the Supreme Court ruling within the workplace. Moderators would reportedly swoop in and quickly remove posts about abortion in the company’s internal Workplace platform. Meta did, however, tell employees that it would reimburse them for travel expenses if they need to access out-of-state healthcare and reproductive services “to the extent permitted by law.”