Anti-abortion misinformation is rampant on social media

The Women’s Foundation, a reference structure in France working for equality and women’s rights, published this Wednesday, January 17, a report detailing anti-abortion movements that invest heavily in social networks. On YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and even X, anti-abortion messages thrive with impunity, the foundation warns.

Yes, anti-abortion misinformation is rampant on major social platforms, a new report released this Wednesday by the Women’s Foundation decries. The study was entrusted toInstitute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank specializing in the analysis of online propaganda strategies deployed by extremist movements. The authors of the report deciphered the mechanisms of this influence, which spreads mainly on social networks. They note that “much of this content appears intended to discourage users from seeking an abortion and to cast doubt on the safety of the treatments used during the procedure.” »

However, as of 2017, obstructing an abortion that is carried out online is a crime enshrined in French law?

This crime is punishable by up to two years in prison accompanied by a fine of 30,000 euros. And this is certainly one of the reasons why anti-abortionists have stopped publishing websites that were previously well-linked and therefore clearly visible to search engines. Social media has largely taken over this Infox, notes the Women’s Foundation. From YouTube, through Facebook, Instagram and even the X platform, formerly Twitter, the institute’s study shows that anti-abortion organizations are funding ads aimed at young teenage girls. These misleading reports describe in great detail the alleged suffering of the aborted fetus, the side effects of abortion, and depict erroneous descriptions of medical abortion procedures. Clips with shocking images on video streaming platforms complement this propaganda and carry out long-term undermining to discourage young women from later resorting to abortion.

The Women’s Foundation states that moderation on social networks is applied “inconsistently”?

Effectively! But is it really surprising?! The only law governing the moderation policy of large social platforms remains and will remain for a long time the law on the number of clicks collected by advertising banners. The study further suggests that this anti-abortion misinformation has been spread by accounts “affiliated with the tradwife movement,” that is, traditional wives who advocate online for a return to the pseudo-feminist foundations of the 1950s. an online movement that was born in the United States preaches an absolute devotion to women who are obliged to do housework, limiting them to the joys of motherhood. The mapping of anti-abortion influence presented in this report also reveals the strong activity of Christian, royalist and far-right activists in France. “Public or private Facebook groups supporting Reconquest parties! Érica Zemmoura, played a key role in the dissemination of this anti-abortion content,” the document states.

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