Facebook apologizes after pulling down abortion group’s page

Facebook pulled down a page for a nonprofit that refers women to doctors who can provide them with abortion pills, but restored it after more than a day, saying it had made a mistake.

The group, Women on Web, said it received a notice from Facebook that its page didn’t appear to follow the site’s online rules. “We remove any promotion or encouragement of drug use,” the notice said.

On Friday, Facebook apologized and said the page was mistakenly taken down.

“Facebook is a place for people and organizations to campaign for the things that matter to them, and Women on Web is an example of that. In this instance the account was disabled in error but has now been restored. We apologize for this and for any inconvenience caused,” the company said in a statement.

Facebook declined to elaborate on how the error was made.

But as the company beefs up its efforts to review its online content, the mistake also highlighted the challenges the company faces when it tries to enforce its online rules.

This month, Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg said that the tech firm is adding 3,000 people to a team that reviews flagged content on the site.

But it’s not the first and probably not the last time Facebook will make the wrong call.

Last year, it removed an iconic photo of a naked girl running on a road after suffering burns from a napalm attack during the Vietnam War. The tech firm, which pulled down the image because of nudity, later apologized and admitted it made a mistake.

Women on Web, though, could breathe a sigh of relief on Friday.

“We appreciate so much all the support from many persons and organizations who have spoken up for freedom of expression and the human rights of women,” the group wrote in a Facebook post.

Above: Screenshot of Women on Web’s Facebook page.

 

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