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Facebook helps cops arrest a teen for buying abortion pills

by on10 August 2022

Jailing 17 year old girls is what social networking is all about

Facebook provided user information to police in Nebraska that led directly to the prosecution of a 17-year-old girl for alleged crimes relating to ordering abortion pill online.

The social notworking outfit did not even bother to challenge the order it just handed the teens ,direct messages to cops, who are now charging the girl with three felonies for using a mail-order abortion pill and burying the miscarried fetus.

Apparently a Nebraska detective got it into his head that a juvenile female had given birth prematurely supposedly to a stillborn child and murdered it. He had no reason to suspect this, but on a hunch he decided to exhume the body.

An autopsy showed that the fetus had never had air in its lungs which did not prove his case at all. But he was not going to let that get in the way of his investigation and he was pretty sure the girl had done something, so he asked Meta to provide all the girl’s Facebook messages, photos and other data for “statements that might indicate whether the baby was stillborn or asphyxiated."

Meta provided messages were the teen was discussing taking an abortifacient medication which has been illegal in Nebraska since the US Supreme Court decided that States, not women, decided if they wanted to breed or not.  

Based on this information, police raided the family’s home, seizing six smartphones and seven laptops, with data like internet history and emails totaling 24 gigabytes. Among this trove the investigators hope to find the evidence of a teenager ordering abortion pills.  Not exactly a child smothering but the detective could be proud of the fact that he had uncovered a "real crime" afterall. If you look hard enough everyone has committed a crime, and it is pretty clear that Facebook will help police discover it.

Now the 17-year-old is being tried as an adult for performing an abortion after week 20 of pregnancy, performing an abortion without a license, concealing a dead body, concealing the death of a person and false reporting. 

Until the detective recieved the Facebook messages there was no proof of a crime beyond improperly disposing of a miscarried fetus. The detective’s asphyxiation theory, based solely on the presence of a plastic bag, was incompatible with the autopsy evidence, which supported the girl’s story.

Meta has challenged court orders for user information before. Facebook’s policy on challenging a request for user data is that if the request is not consistent with applicable law or their policies, or if it is legally deficient or overly broad, the company will challenge it or tailor the information it provides. 

Meta claims to be shocked by the case as nothing in the valid warrants it 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. But you have to take both the police and Meta's word for that. 


Last modified on 10 August 2022
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