As the Meta oversight board debates how to proceed with abortion-related content on Facebook and Instagram, Media Matters for America has submitted a public comment asking the company to bolster its content moderation process and issue-specific policies to address rampant abortion misinformation on its platforms.
Meta currently has no community guidelines that speak to abortion-related content specifically. The company’s poor enforcement of its standing policies has allowed right-wing misinformers to continue spreading unfettered falsehoods about abortion and using its platforms to facilitate harassment of abortion patients and providers. As a result, Meta continues to privilege conservative talking points at the cost of suppressing accurate information about abortion — an especially concerning trend as reproductive health access is increasingly restricted in the post-Roe v. Wade era.
New data from Media Matters has shown that abortion-related posts from U.S. news and politics pages on Facebook that receive the most engagement — as measured by reactions, comments, and shares — came from right-leaning groups, often containing harmful and inaccurate messaging. After analyzing nearly 370,000 posts about abortion from January 1, 2021, to June 22, 2023, Media Matters found that right-leaning Facebook pages have dominated the conversation about abortion rights — earning nearly half of total interactions (46%) on abortion-related posts.
To put those numbers into perspective, right-wing pages accounted for only 35% of total abortion-related posts from U.S. news and politics pages. In comparison, left-leaning and nonaligned pages comprised 17% and 48% of all abortion-related posts. However, left-leaning posts only accounted for 30% of engagement, and nonaligned posts accounted for just 24%.
Further research from Media Matters reveals that since January 1, 2021, Meta has earned at least $700,000 on over 800 political ads from right-wing and anti-abortion Facebook pages that contain abortion misinformation related to “late-term abortion” or “infanticide.” Though the company ultimately removed some of the ads for violating its advertising policies, these ads have earned at least 37.6 million total impressions.
Read Media Matters' public comment here: