Reports say that the Police in Nebraska obtained a warrant to access a teenager’s Facebook DMs (private messages), the contents of which were later used to incriminate her. She and her mom have since been charged for violating the state”s abortion laws.
In Nebraska, it is unlawful to have an abortion after 20 weeks. 17-year old Celeste and her mother are facing charges of committing abortion and also burying the foetus, to hide their actions, after.
What is a DM in Facebook?
The abbreviation, DM, stands for Direct Messages, are communication on an online, social platform in which messages are sent privately from one user to another user. In Facebook, it is called Private Messages (PM) and it works via the Messenger app. When you use Facebook Messenger to exchange messages, you are using Facebook DM.
Facebook is caught in the crossfire
In the wake of this development, where users’ supposedly private messages were obtained and used to prosecute them, there is an ongoing campaign on Twitter to get women to delete Facebook. The campaign is using the hashtag, #DeleteFacebook.
Andy Stone, head of communications at meta, Facebook’s parent company, issued a official statement on the case.
“Nothing in the valid warrants we received from local law enforcement in early June, prior to the Supreme Court decision, mentioned abortion.
“The warrants concerned charges related to a criminal investigation and court documents indicate that police at the time were investigating the case of a stillborn baby who was burned and buried, not a decision to have an abortion.
“Both of these warrants were originally accompanied by non-disclosure orders, which prevented us from sharing any information about them. The orders have now been lifted.”Meta Newsroom
Since the new anti-abortion laws came into effect in the US, big tech companies have been under pressure by users to protect women who choose to have abortions from these laws. This is the first incidence of how effective any of them can provide that protection.
How much protection Big Tech can provide to their users seeking abortion in the United States remains to be seen. This isn’t the first time that there has been a campaign to delete Facebook, though, and if the numbers are anything to go by, the previous campaigns were like water off a duck’s back.
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