FACEBOOK – Facebook accepted 58K Euros for posting 320 anti-abortion advertisements

Facebook received 58,000 Euros in 2019 to run advertisements discouraging abortion. Some 320 advertisements, with testimonials from young women who have regretted or decided against an abortions have been posted on the social network since April 2019. For example: a particularly offensive advertisement included the image of a bloodied fetus. More than 200,000 young women aged 18-34 could see this on their Facebook feed between October 21 and November 9, 2020. The advertisements – “Abortion: you’re hesitating? Come talk about it! ” – were broadcast by Facebook after the purchase of numerous campaigns by IVG.net.

In France, there is an legal offence called “obstructing abortion”. It is punishable with two years’ imprisonment and a 30,000 Euro fine for “preventing or attempting to prevent practising or learning about a voluntary termination of pregnancy […] in particular by broadcasting or transmitting allegations or indications likely to be intentionally misleading, with a dissuasive aim, on the characteristics or the medical consequences of a voluntary termination of pregnancy”. It also specifies as illegal “exercising moral and psychological pressure, threats or any act of intimidation” with the aim of obstructing abortion.

The advertisements paid for by IVG.net do not commit this crime. Rather, their aim is this: “We favour testimonials from women who suffer from their abortions.” Their hope is that such testimonials will create hostility towards abortion. Thus, one example given in the BFMTV report was of a young woman who reportedly said: “Since that day, I no longer sleep full nights! I constantly hit myself! I hardly eat any more.” The text is accompanied by an image of a bloodied fetus. Further examples from Facebook can be found in the BFMTV article in French.

Facebook told BFMTV they believe that most of the advertisements purchased by this group comply with their terms of use. They admitted, however, that the post with the bloodied fetus did not comply with their rules against shocking content, and several weeks later the advertisement was removed. According to the BFMTV article, 12 advertisements have been withdrawn by Facebook for non-compliance with their rules. Should this lead to the prohibition on buying new advertising space? Facebook did not say if they have taken any action along these lines against IVG.net.

SOURCE: BFMTV, by Raphael Grably, 18 January 2021 (en français)