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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Opinion: The dangers of misinformation about abortion

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That’s a problem because much of what they find online, including on social media, is inaccurate and downright dangerous. The researchers said Misinformation about abortion – like TikTok videos false statement that abortion can be induced by herbs – has been and is widespread.

Tech companies urgently need to step in to educate those in need of abortions with the right information – and help protect their privacy in the process.

Misinformation about abortion has been spread on the internet. One year 2021 research published by PLOS ONE evaluated the top 10 websites powered by Google for “abortion pills” searches in 2018. Of the sites with “text-based educational content,” only one was available. web – Planned Parenthood site – has information deemed “high quality and usable.” Among the search results were websites that tried to dissuade women from having an abortion in the first place.
It’s scary to think that people looking for reliable information can find links to things like dangerous pills, unsafe home abortion recipes, or underground abortion providers, because illegal abortion can prove deadly.
But women looking for resources may not immediately realize that the misinformation they find is inaccurate or dangerous. Research shows that people find it difficult to identify so-called “fake news” under normal circumstances – and we can expect abortion seekers to be upset, stressed and scared, making it all the more difficult for them to think clearly and remember to investigate the reliability of their sources. surname. So the internet platforms need to help them.
Just as social networks have tried to combat fake news about vote and Vaccine by creating resource centers with links to accurate information, they should also create resource centers for people in need of abortion. Resource centers must provide links to accurate, legal information, including their nearest legal abortion providers and information on how to obtain abortion pills from authorized companies. France.
With the legitimacy of supporting women’s abortions so obvious, companies may fear putting themselves in jeopardy by directing women toward trustworthy resources. One Texas Law, for example, allowing anyone to “assist and assist” a woman seeking an abortion could be sued. But Section 230 of the Communication Discipline Act also protect the internet platform from being sued for user-generated content they host or censor, giving social media companies a strong legal argument to stand. And, ultimately, social media platforms – and search engine technology companies like Google – should have the backbone to take risks to protect the lives of their users.
Of course, a big difference between the resource centers that social networks have created on other topics in the past and the one that can be created to provide information on abortion are forums. Abortion resources need to be designed with privacy in mind, as there is a big fear that women who have abortions in states where they are illegal could be prosecuted for using data from their app or phone or other digital profile held by technology companies.
Technology company should not keep records of anyone using the abortion resource center – nor should they record other searches for abortion-related information or location data of people visiting the abortion provider. Thankfully, Google said it will not store this type of location data, but it’s just the beginning of the steps companies – and others – should take to help and protect their users.
There is also the risk of women could be prosecuted use subpoena law enforcement officers’ data from their phones. So resource centers should also explain in simple, easy-to-follow ways how women can permanently remove evidence of their searches from their personal devices, as well as their data. entered apps like cycle trackers.
Tech companies like Meta and Google have try to support abortion rights by offering to pay for the travel of their employees who need to go to other states to get them. So far, however, they haven’t done enough to support their users, who we can expect to increasingly go online when looking for resources. That is not acceptable.
The peculiarity is that tech companies don’t step up to giving abortion seekers the information they need when you consider that. Women make up the majority of users of platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Social networks and search engines need to start actively directing abortion seekers to the right information – and help them de-register their searches. They should not wait for women to die or harm themselves based on misinformation they find online before taking action.

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I am passionate about journalism and using new technology to spread news. I am also interested in politics and economics, and I am always looking for ways to make a difference in the world. I am the CEO of Janaseva News, and I am 24 years old.

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