A Facebook page in favour of repealing the eighth amendment has reportedly been targeted by ‘save the eighth’ campaigners.
In Her Shoes – Women of the Eighth is a Facebook page with almost 60,000 followers where Irish women can anonymously share their own experiences of abortion. Since 14th January 2018, over 178 stories have been shared by women nationwide. However, according to page administrators, they were recently bombarded by online trolls in an effort to have the page removed.
In a post shared on Tuesday, they said, “Pro-life accounts had been spamming and trolling numerous conversations within the In Her Shoes community… they devised an attempt, along with their pro-life organisations in the US to remove the page by trying to flood it with one-star reviews, privately messaging individual commenters, and/or reporting individual commenters and this page as spam.” These reviews, many of which are still online, describe the page as “fake news”, “propaganda”, and “misinformation.”
In an attempt to counter the negative reviews, numerous pro-choice campaigners posted five-star reviews. Facebook picked up on the unusual activity and subsequently suspended a number of accounts. In Her Shoes said, “We would like to issue an apology to those that have been temporarily locked out of their account following attempts from pro-life organisations to silence women from sharing their lived experiences… Facebook has the duty to investigate and ensure that there are no bots, and accounts should resume as normal.”
Speaking to thejournal.ie, the founder of the page said, “Because of the sudden influx of attention on reviews, paired with pro-life activists reporting reviewers and the page, Facebook subsequently ran an investigation on accounts to ensure that they are legitimate. Facebook users needed to verify their account, after a day their reviews were reinstated.” They added, “There has been evidence of Irish pro-life campaigners calling on large pro-life American based Facebook groups to spam the page to take it down. These attempts have failed.”
Since Facebook examined the situation, the average review score has reverted to 4.9.