Law enforcement officials are getting help from social media platforms to build cases against women seeking abortions or abortion-inducing medication in states where the procedure is banned or restricted.
Facebook's parent company, Meta, and Google are providing user data that has assisted prosecutors, Business Insider reported.
Meta provided a key piece of evidence in a Nebraska case in which a woman and her daughter will stand trial for performing an illegal abortion. The daughter also faces charges for allegedly illegally disposing of the fetus' remains.
The mother, Jessica Burgess, allegedly helped her daughter find and take pills that would induce an abortion.
Meta provided to police internal chat logs that indicated the mother and daughter had discussed their plan to find the medication through the app, TechCrunch reported.
In a statement, Meta said it had responded to "valid legal warrants from local law enforcement" before the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade, which had legalized abortion nationwide. Last summer's decision returned the issue to the states.
The warrants in this case "did not mention abortion" because law enforcement had requested the chat logs while investigating the teen's disposal of the remains. However, discussion of abortion pills were included in the logs.
Google could provide data concerning abortion medication because online pharmacies are sharing sensitive data, including users' web addresses, relative location, and search data, ProPublica reported.
FBI officials told Insider they were "unable to accommodate" the outlet's detailed request for information about the criteria required for officers to issue a request for a person's social media or internet history.
The FBI also did not explain what information generally is given to them in the pursuit of such information.
Google representatives did not respond to Insider's requests for comment.
"We comply with government requests for user information only where we have a good-faith belief that the law requires us to do so," a Meta spokesperson told Insider.
"In addition, we assess whether a request is consistent with internationally recognized standards on human rights, including due process, privacy, free expression, and the rule of law. When we do comply, we only produce information that is narrowly tailored to that request. If we determine that a request appears to be deficient or overly broad, we push back, and will fight in court, if necessary. We do not provide governments with 'back doors' to people's information."
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