alphabet/google (GOOGL) – Get the Alphabet Inc. report The subsidiary just made a content decision that touches on one of society’s most divisive issues, one that could win praise on one side of the political spectrum and anger on the other.
The nine-member Supreme Court voted 5-4 last month to overturn a 1973 decision known as Roe v. Wade, which established the constitutional right to abortion. It also voted 6-3 to pass a Mississippi law that would ban all abortions after 15 weeks.
The ruling passed decisions on abortion rights to each of the nation’s 50 states, and about half are now expected to pass some form of restriction or ban.
Fighting misinformation about abortion
Few major companies have criticized the ruling. Many companies simply tell their employees that they will pay for travel for anyone in need of abortion and reproductive health services. They have vowed to pay their employees to travel to states where abortion procedures are still legal.
YouTube just broke its silence on a related issue. Video platforms will begin removing all content that spreads misinformation about abortion, as well as all content about unsafe abortion methods.
The company explained that the decision is part of its policy on misinformation related to health and medical matters.
The company announced on Twitter on July 21: “Starting today and gradually increasing over the next few weeks, we will remove false claims that provide instructions for unsafe abortion methods or promote the safety of abortion in accordance with our Medical Misinformation Policy. the content of the statement.”
“Like all of our policies on health/medical topics, we rely on guidance issued by health authorities,” YouTube continued. “We prioritize connecting people with health-themed content from authoritative sources, and we continually review our policies and products as real-world events unfold.”
YouTube’s decision also comes at a time when pro-choice associations and activists are concerned about protecting the privacy of people seeking abortion or those willing to help them, such as doctors or nurses.
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Lawmakers have asked the platform to limit searches and map results, directing abortion seekers to fake clinics.
“NEW: @RepSlotkin and I are leading a group of lawmakers pushing Google CEO to crack down on manipulative search results leading to fraudulent ‘crisis pregnancy centers,'” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) tweeted on June 17 Wen said, along with a link to a letter sent to the internet giant. “It’s time for them to limit or flag the results and advertising that lead to fake abortion clinics.”
Eliminate Videos About Self-Managed Abortions
In their letter, the lawmakers cited research from the Center Against Digital Hate, a nonprofit that fights online misinformation and hate.
The data showed that in states with so-called trigger laws, 11 percent of searches for “abortion clinics near me” and “abortion pills” were anti-abortion fake clinics. (Many states passed abortion restriction laws designed to trigger when Roe v. Wade was overturned.)
“Directing women to fake clinics that sell misinformation and don’t provide comprehensive health services poses a danger to women’s health and undermines the integrity of Google’s search results,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai.
Earlier this month, YouTube’s parent company, Google, said it would remove the site after someone visited an abortion clinic, counseling center, domestic violence shelter, fertility center, addiction treatment facility, weight loss clinic, cosmetic surgery clinic and other medical facilities. Person’s location history. and others.
YouTube also appears to be responding to a trend: a Supreme Court ruling prompting women to circumvent the system by stockpiling things like morning-after pills. A solidarity network is growing to overcome clinic closures and bans or restrictions in 21 states.
On the other hand, the short-video platform TikTok broadcasts videos extolling the virtues of abortifacient herbal concoctions. These can get dangerous, as Dazed reports.
YouTube also decided to create a group with abortion information from the National Library of Medicine:
“We’ve also launched an information panel that provides viewers with context and information from local and global health authorities above abortion-related videos and related search results.”