In March, a member of an anti-abortion Facebook group shared a post describing what it claimed was “pro-abortion logic”: “We don’t want you to be poor, starved or unwanted. So we’ll just kill you instead.”
That same month, another Facebook user shared a link to a news article covering a South Carolina bill that would have criminalized abortion as homicide, thus making it eligible for the death penalty. In the caption, the user criticized lawmakers’ logic that “it’s wrong to kill so we are going to kill you.” On Instagram, another post struck the same tone, criticizing the idea of being “so pro-life” that “we’ll kill you dead if you get an abortion.”
These posts represent opposite sides of the abortion debate, but they faced the same fate. After Meta’s automated hostile speech classifier flagged the posts, human reviewers determined that they constituted death threats, violating Meta’s violence and incitement policy. The posts were removed from Facebook and Instagram. In response to appeals from the users who shared the content, Meta ultimately restored all three posts (in one case after four reviews), admitting that they should never have been removed since they did not incite violence.