Posted on September 12, 2021 at 6:06 PM
“Anonymous”, a renowned group of hackers, attacked the Texas GOP website on September 11 2021, only to flood it with memes. GOP is the official website of The Republican Party of Texas. The website was after that disassembled.
Following the decision by The Texas government to uphold the prohibitive abortion law earlier the same month, the hacking group, Anonymous, set in motion an operation they termed “Operation Jane“, intending to attack anyone that tried to impose the law. In effecting this mission, Anonymous hacked the website of Texas GOP.
The restrictive law on abortion
Texas restrictive law on abortion was proposed earlier this year as a Republican-based legislative to ban abortion past the six-week stage. According to this law, any woman that performs an abortion past the six-week stage could be sued, as will anyone who helps her perform this act.
This includes both the doctor and the counsellors that attend to the lady thereafter. The law does not have any reservations that would protect the woman if the pregnancy followed an act of rape or incest.
After legislatures passed the law, people believed that this law would be refuted by the United States Supreme Court because of the conflict it possessed for the milestone case, which made abortion legal in the first place. However, the United States Supreme Court turned out a formal appeal to block Texas’ restrictive law against abortion past six weeks of pregnancy. By declining the offer of termination, the Texas law would automatically be implemented.
Social media was witness to public reactions to the abortion law. One cited comment was the allowance that rapists would be legally bound to report their victims if they attempted to commit an abortion past the six weeks age. If the rapist did that, they would be paid $10,000.
Proponents for reproductive rights did not take this law so well, which was seen in various social media posts. The advocates were surprised with the realization that both Instagram and Facebook were blocking details about the abortion pill, which is a combination of mifepristone and misoprostol that, if taken together, will end the pregnancy.
Anonymous hacking group, known for its initiation in fighting for people’s rights, is the first major group to display opposition to the abortion law publicly.
While Facebook blocked information about Misoprostol, Instagram was blocking information about both drugs. With this obstruction, any searches concerning the two terms were met with the automated response, “recent posts have been hidden as some may not adhere to the site’s community standards”. Without specifying the specific guidelines that the posts were violating, the social media platforms were living it to the general population to understand what was meant by the term “recent”.
According to Facebook, which is an affiliate company of Instagram, certain terms had been blocked erroneously. In their email response to the Daily Dot, the blocking happened long before the Texas law. Among the first people to notice the blocking of the hashtags that referred to the two drugs was Hayley McMahon, an abortion researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Hayley believes that the suppression of information about abortion would be destructive to the much-needed information people would benefit from, especially because social media is one of the best platforms that such kind of information could be easily spread.
According to Hayley, restricting such information would lead people to use unsafe means to perform abortion, such as using poisonous herbs or the manual insertion of dangerous objects to effect abortion. However, the post by Hayley was brought down by Instagram citing the reason it violated the platform’s guidelines.
Hayley also went forward to suggest that a team of advocates and researchers called Plan C, who were promoting access to abortion pills, had also been suspended. However, the Twitter account of the advocacy and research group was restored almost immediately, with the social media platforms coming forward to say that the suspension was a mistake not planned for.
Therefore, it was clear that social media played a crucial role in enlightening people looking for safe ways to abort and that getting rid of such information would cause more harm than good. Other comments included people stating their intentions to investigate why searches about the two drugs were being blocked. Shortly after, an official from Instagram came forward to announce that the site was no longer blocking the terms and attached screenshots to prove the same. The population of results upon performing a search was evidence that the hashtag was indeed working.