Meta provides key evidence in abortion case

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Following the reversal of Roe v. Wade, which ended the constitutional right to abortion, Facebook is reportedly providing user data to assist police in prosecuting individuals who obtained abortions illegally.

Meta provided crucial evidence to law enforcement in order for them to charge a woman named Jessica Burgess and her daughter with performing an illegal abortion in Nebraska. Meta, on the other hand, stated in a statement that it only responded to “valid legal warrants from local law enforcement.”

According to internal Meta statistics, the company responds to government requests for user data more than 70% of the time and receives over 400,000 requests per year. However, it should be noted that the request for evidence was made prior to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

Police made the discovery after obtaining a warrant requiring Meta to turn over their Facebook Messenger conversations. The unencrypted messages revealed that the two had discussed obtaining and using abortion pills.

And, while the warrants Meta responded to in this case “did not mention abortion” because the chat log only inadvertently revealed the discussion of abortion pills, the subsequent charges demonstrate how data released by social media companies can be used to prosecute people for abortion even when they are being investigated for other reasons.

The sources for this piece include an article in BusinessInsider.

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