US lawmakers call on Google to tag or restrict search results for ‘fake’ abortion clinics

A group of US lawmakers has signed a letter to Google urging the company to re-evaluate its treatment of search results that direct consumers to anti-abortion crisis centers rather than legitimate clinics, as first reported. Reuters. Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Representative Elisa Slotkin (D-MI) are leading the initiative, while several other Democrat lawmakers have signed a letter of support.

The letter cites a study published by Center for Counteracting Digital Hate (CCDH), which focuses on Google search results in ‘trigger states’ – or The 13 states where abortion will become illegal if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Research shows that 11 percent of Google searches in trigger laws say “abortion clinic near me” and “abortion pill” lead users to “Fake” clinics that try to dissuade women from abortion. The problem is even more pronounced in Google Maps, as CCDH found that 37 percent of abortion-related map searches led to fake clinics.

In a letter to Google, lawmakers asked the search giant if it would limit or label these types of results in the future. “Targeting women to counterfeit clinics that traffic misinformation and do not provide comprehensive health services is dangerous to women’s health and undermines the integrity of Google’s search results,” the letter said. “If Google is to continue to display these misleading results in search results and Google Maps, the results must at least be properly labeled.”

Google ads also seem to be affected by the problem – according to CCDH, almost 28 percent of the ads that appear at the top of search results for abortion-related queries are against choice clinics. In 2019, Google launched requiring companies that advertise abortion to certify whether they are performing abortions or not. For companies that do not actually perform the procedure, Google places a disclaimer “Do not provide abortions” under the ad, but CCDH notes some users may not always notice it.

“Any organization that wants to advertise to people looking for information about abortion services on Google must be certified and show advertisements that clearly state whether or not they are offering abortions, “said Google spokesman Nicolas Lopez in an e-mail statement to On the edge. “We’re always looking for ways to improve our results to help people find what they’re looking for, or to see if what they’re looking for may not be available.”

It is the Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision concerning Roe v. Wade in the following days, but a draft decision expired received from Politician it may mean that the Court plans to set aside an important decision. In preparation for the upcoming decision, another group of deputies from the Democratic Party also insists Google to stop collecting location data from Android usersas this information could potentially be used to prosecute someone who has had an abortion in a country that opposes the procedure.

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