Facebook accused of cashing in on ‘abortion reversal’ adverts

Social media company allegedly accepted more than $100,000 in fees for promoting the controversial treatment

Jade Bremner
Thursday 16 September 2021 19:39
<p>Abortion reversal treatment have been deemed ‘dangerous’ </p>

Abortion reversal treatment have been deemed ‘dangerous’

A new report claims that Facebook and Google have been profiting from “abortion reversal” treatment adverts.

The treatments include pills that adverts claim will stop the effects of a medical abortion. Such treatments have been deemed dangerous by scientists. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that “abortion ‘reversal’ treatment are not based on science and do not meet clinical standards”.

According to the report conducted by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH), adverts that appeared on Facebook promoted websites that claimed abortion reversal was “effective”. The research states the ads were seen by 18.4 million times, with Facebook accepting $140,667 in fees for amplifying the message.

The CCDH research also found that the ads had been shown to children between 13 to 17 years old, 700,000 times. CCDH said that abortion reversal appeared in 83 per cent of searches for abortions on Google, the report calls the ads “misleading and dangerous”.

In 2012, a study named Progesterone Use to Reverse the Effects of Mifepristone, by George Delgado and Mary L Davenport, monitored six women who took progesterone after taking the medical abortion drug mifepristone. According to the study, four of the women continued with their pregnancies.

The study was not overseen by an institutional review board and the treatment has never been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Possible side effects listed by the FDA include having bleeding or abnormal blood clotting, which could cause a stroke, heart attack, pulmonary embolus, visual loss or blindness.

Facebook responded to The Independent about the claims with a statement: “We removed many of the ads identified in the report – most of which were inactive and months or years old – for violating our policies around offering adult products and services.”

Facebook advertising policy states that it prohibits “ads targeted to minors must not promote products, services, or content that are inappropriate, illegal, or unsafe, or that exploit, mislead, or exert undue pressure on the age groups targeted”.

A Google spokesperson told The Independent: “We not allow ads with unproven medical claims and remove any ads promoting abortion reversal pills. To ensure full transparency about an advertiser’s services, we require all ads that target abortion-related searches to prominently disclose whether they do or do not provide abortions.”

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