Amnesty International USA statement on social media companies’ obligations to protect user privacy following Supreme Court strike down of abortion rights

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Last month, the United States Supreme Court struck down Roe vs. Wadeending the constitutional right to abortion in the US In response to this news and emerging concerns about technology and human rights, Michael Kleinman, Director of Technology and Human Rights at Amnesty International USA, said:

“Social media platforms will now become a new battlefield in the war for reproductive rights. Platforms will be forced to make choices about what information they allow on their platforms, what data they collect, and what data they are willing to share with law enforcement authorities. Unless social media platforms act now to help protect reproductive rights, they risk becoming a tool of those who wish to criminalize abortion.

“The importance of Big Tech in the fight for reproductive rights highlights not only the centrality of these companies in our daily lives, but also the overwhelming and irresponsible power they have. This painfully underscores the importance of Amnesty’s ongoing work around surveillance capitalism and the right to freedom of expression.

“Amnesty Technology is calling on social media companies to take immediate action to help protect reproductive rights, including: conducting an immediate audit of data that could indicate whether a user is looking for information about abortion services and whether a user is near an abortion clinic; enable greater privacy protections in user accounts; clarifying that they will not respond to law enforcement requests for information related to abortion and reproductive rights; and update their terms of service and community guidelines to clarify that they will not restrict or censor discussion of reproductive rights.

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“Amnesty is also calling on data brokers to restrict the sale and disclosure of data that could be used to prosecute or otherwise harass those seeking to exercise their reproductive rights.”


Starting July 2 17 states have already banned abortion, or will do so soon. In the rush to navigate the post-Roe In the abortion rights landscape, one immediate concern is the extent to which social media platforms will cooperate with law enforcement requests from states that have criminalized abortion, including requests for information about people seeking abortions, who help them or who provide these services.

Social media companies are incentivized to collect more data about their users to sell targeted ads, including sensitive data related to individuals’ reproductive rights. Facebook is already collecting data on people visiting crisis pregnancy center websites. This data collected by companies such as Google and Meta, as well as third-party applications and data brokers, can be used to identify and potentially prosecute those who seek abortions. in a postRoe In the world, this means that Facebook data could help criminalize pregnant people who have obtained an abortion, or anyone who has helped them.

Contact: Gabby Arias, [email protected]