Mass deletion of Facebook accounts in U.S. after service gave Nebraska police private messages about teen’s abortion
“Everyone should now #DeleteFacebook,” tweeted pro-choice activist Olivia Julianna after Nebraska police officers used private messages from the site to accuse a teenage girl of having an abortion!
The Internet exploded a few days ago. And no wonder. For on August 9, the American Forbes reported that private messages from the Facebook platform were used to accuse a 17-year-old girl of allegedly aborting her pregnancy. In addition to comments full of indignation that this was simply an obvious violation of the right to privacy, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook began trending and users began deleting their accounts from the site. In the state of Nebraska, abortion after the 20th week is criminalized, which is where 17-year-old Celeste and her mother Jessica live.
According to the aforementioned magazine, the teenager, who is being tried as an adult, and her 41-year-old mother were charged this July with “allegedly removing, concealing or abandoning a dead human body,” a felony, as well as two misdemeanors: concealing the death of another person and false reporting. According to Glamour.com, the mother was additionally charged with “performing or attempting an abortion for pregnancies over 20 weeks and performing an abortion as an unlicensed physician.” The Norfolk Police Department “received information that the teenager miscarried at 23 weeks gestation in April and secretly buried the fetus with the help of her mother.” The teen told police that she had miscarried, but Nebraska authorities continued to investigate, eventually issuing Facebook a search warrant for private messages exchanged between the mother and daughter. From their conversation, it was alleged that the teenager, with the help of her mother, had terminated the pregnancy on her own, using pills. Both mother and daughter pleaded not guilty to all charges. Both were arrested.
On August 11, Facebook provided the following statement to American Glamour:
“We received a binding legal order from local law enforcement agencies on June 7,” the statement read. —”The warrant did not mention abortion at all. Court documents show that police were investigating the alleged illegal burning and burial of a dead child at the time. The warrants were accompanied by confidentiality orders, which prevented us from sharing information about them. Now the confidentiality clause has been lifted and we can speak on the case”.
Additional information was also provided to the prosecution by a friend of the teenager.
Activists from the Abortion Dream Team spoke out on their Instagram account, especially in light of reports that Celeste’s friend also gave information to the police in the case….
“This case shows that the criminalization of abortion usually starts with some unfavorable person: very often a current/ex-boyfriend or husband but also employees of the health care system,” the activists comment. — In a statement, Facebook explains that it didn’t know the case was about abortion, because the police only mentioned burying the fetus after a miscarriage. Apparently, they are not comfortable with accusations of obstructing access to abortion, the ADT”, activists add.
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