Facebook: Abortion Instructions “Removed In Error”

    January 3, 2012

Facebook found itself in a controversy last week over the deletion of an image on the page of the Dutch group Women on Waves that contained instructions on how to terminate a pregnancy.

The image contained detailed instructions on how to use the drug misoprostol, commonly used to treat ulcers, to instigate an abortion. The instructions were intended for women in countries where abortion is illegal.

According to The Atlantic Wire, the image containing the instructions was removed from the group’s facebook page on December 30. Rebecca Gomperts, director of Women on Waves, posted an image of the take-down notice and asked people to share. Share they did as the story went through the usual channels of blogs and journalists reporting on the removal.

This led to a standard retread and apology from Facebook that covered all the bases of a P.R. apology while assuring the group that the removal was due to a simple mistake and not an anti-abortion bias.

“[The Facebook] team looks at hundreds of thousands of reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally, we make a mistake and remove a piece of content we shouldn’t have,” the apology stated.

The image was returned to the group’s profile and all warnings were removed. It’s a happy end to another story about tech giants removing or omitting instructions on abortion by mistake.

If you will recall, Apple had a similar problem in November with their Siri software not telling users where or how to get an abortion, while being able to seemingly answer any other question. It also led to an outcry from the Internet that ended with Apple saying it was a problem in the Siri software and not some anti-abortion agenda.