Meta and Google restrict health information 

MSI Reproductive Choices and the Center for Countering Digital Hate have partnered to issue a report: DIGITAL DISPARITIES: The Global Battle for Reproductive Rights on Social Media. The report shines a light on practices at Meta and Google that restrict access to accurate information about reproductive healthcare in Africa, Asia and Latin America, while allowing misinformation to spread.  

At MSI, we believe women should be able to access the information that will allow them to make their own decisions about their reproductive health. We call upon social media platforms to stop putting women’s lives at risk through the spread of misinformation and make it easier for women to find the information and healthcare they need.

Accurate information is crucial – but ad platforms make it harder to find 

For many women seeking an abortion, a Google search or other social media activity will be their first step in looking for healthcare. MSI advertises safe legal abortion services in the countries where we work to help women quickly find the information they need as they make decisions about their reproductive health. But in many countries, digital platforms like Google and Meta have restricted what MSI can advertise, rejecting or removing ads that provide necessary and accurate medical information.  

MSI’s team in Ghana reported that Google Ads has been very “restrictive,” even banning the term “pregnancy options” from being used on the platform. As a result, women searching for information about safe abortion care are unable to find the information they need to make informed decisions. At the same time, the risk of women finding inaccurate or even dangerous misinformation is high. 

On Meta, MSI has faced even more restrictions. In Ghana, Kenya, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, and Vietnam, MSI’s ads have been rejected or removed for vague reasons. Meta will claim an ad contains “sensitive content” or “content that asserts or implies personal attributes.” By designating medical information as “sensitive” and allowing the spread of misinformation, Meta is robbing women of the right to make decisions for themselves.  

Misinformation is rampant on Meta and Google 

While accurate information is suppressed on Meta and Google, misinformation can spread unchecked. 

The Center for Countering Digital Hate analyzed Meta’s ad library in Ghana and Mexico. In those two countries alone, the company profited from ads placed by anti-abortion organizations promoting false or misleading claims, which were seen up to 1 million times between 2019 and 2024. Many of these paid-for ads greatly exaggerate the risks of abortion.

One anti-choice organization sensationalized the risks associated with mifepristone, one of the drugs used in millions of safe abortions worldwide, saying it could lead to “fatal vaginal bleeding.” For women seeking abortion care, these ads are more than an annoyance: they’re a barrier to getting the healthcare they need. 

Olivia Abera, MSI Call Centre Agent, answers client calls at the MSI Ghana contact center in Accra, Ghana.

Researchers also discovered that Meta approved paid ads by overseas anti-abortion groups such as Americans United for Life, promoting conspiracy theories designed to seed distrust and spread fear. Common among the ads is the idea that good faith efforts to decriminalize abortion by respected organizations like MSI are financed by “global powers and international companies,” whose goal is to “eliminate” local populations. In Ghana, MSI was accused of trying to “destroy the youth of Ghana through promotion of satanic comprehensive sexuality education.”  

In some cases, anti-choice groups have even imitated MSI branding to mislead and rob women seeking abortion care. In Kenya, fake pages imitating MSI ask prospective clients to make mobile money transfers. When the pages have been reported, the platform has either delayed action or simply failed to remove them. 

Meta and Google must act to stop misinformation 

Women deserve accurate information about their healthcare options. But instead, when they turn to the internet looking for support, they’re finding lies—and companies like Meta and Google are profiting from it.  

MSI calls on these powerful and influential institutions to set an example, strengthen their efforts to eliminate misinformation, enforce their own rules on disinformation and join the fight to empower women to make informed decisions about their bodies and futures.    

IMPACT STORIES

Real people, real stories, real solutions.

Extreme heat threatens choice
Climate crisis

Extreme heat threatens choice

This spring, an extreme heat wave rolled across West Africa. Temperatures ... Read More

Defending Choice: Funding the Future
MSI News

Defending Choice: Funding the Future

Help us defend choice as voraciously as it is being attacked. Read More

Empowering women in climate disasters
Climate crisis

Empowering women in climate disasters

The critical role of choice in decision-making  Who is bearing the ... Read More

View All