Facebook silent as anti-abortion disinformation in Spanish language spreads, study revealsBy Niyi Oyedeji on May 26, 2022
A new study by Naral Pro-Choice America’s research team has revealed how some Facebook pages are spreading disinformation in Spanish language about abortion to millions of users on the platform.
The study revealed that the social media platform is making little or no effort to stop the Facebook pages with millions of followers from spreading disinformation about the topic.
In its efforts to show how disinformation is disseminated by opponents of abortion, the abortion rights research team examined nine Facebook pages with more than 2.79 million users for the study.
The study accused the platform of censoring fact-checks by medical experts to curb the spread of disinformation on the subject-matter.
“Facebook has also allowed anti-choice groups to advertise their stigmatizing and medically unproven claims that medication abortion can be reversed,” it stated.
It added that Facebook is not alone among tech companies in refusing to remove disinformation about abortion care but said its failure to do so has direct implications for the 72% of Latin people in the United States who use its platform.
“Such disinformation directly aids the anti-choice movement in its efforts to stigmatize abortion, coerce pregnant people who deserve the freedom to make the decisions that are best for their families and lives, and pass draconian bans and restrictions on abortion,” it noted.
The study added that many of the Facebook pages it examined spread disinformation about the safety of abortion, claiming that it leads to an increased risk of breast cancer, anxiety, infertility, depression, and suicide. “Some posts have been viewed thousands of times without intervention from Facebook.”
The researcher, however, urged Facebook to recognise that disinformation about abortion is medical disinformation with real-world harms and to take steps in curbing it.
“Take steps to limit the spread of falsehoods about abortion in English, Spanish, and other languages by proactively removing content promoting disinformation or (at minimum) fact-checking and labeling such content to provide additional context,” it said.