Post-Roe, her Facebook group went viral

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, Veronica Reisinger created a tiny Facebook group for her neighbors in Kansas City, Missouri, to share resources for people looking to get an abortion.

But Reisinger’s phone notifications never stopped. Her small group has grown into a nationwide center of anger, heartfelt personal stories, and education among people worried about a post-Row America of 30,000.

Reisinger doesn’t understand how her Facebook group got so big. At one point, she said, 10,000 people were waiting to join the USA Camping Resource Center’s private group. (“Camping” is a code word used in some online talk about abortion.)

She was not prepared for the time commitment or responsibility of giving people the opportunity to express their feelings and find information about the rapidly changing legal status of abortion in the US. But she feels she must do her best. “I don’t want to do this, but this is the world we live in,” Reisinger told me.

That one woman became the unwitting leader of a major abortion rights forum shows that Facebook remains a place for Americans to voice their hopes and fears. How was it for Facebook groups that have sprung up to promote false allegations of widespread fraud in the 2020 elections.emotions can help online communities go viral in ways that surprise their creators and the company itself.

On Friday morning, Reisinger was at work and was seething. Within minutes of the Supreme Court’s decision, an immediate “trigger law” was passed in her home state of Missouri. abortion ban.

“I was filled with such rage,” she told me this week. “I thought, okay, I can give people a place where they can come together.”

Riesinger has experience following other groups on Facebook and founded the US Camping Resource Center mainly – or so she thought – for people in her area who shared her anger and wanted to express, talk about what they can do or offer help. “Maybe it could work if it was me and 10 people from my area,” she said.

Almost immediately there were many more. People have flooded the Facebook group with candid personal stories about abortion or being denied. And they ask a lot of questions about how these bans might affect them.

Reisinger said one Missouri woman sent a message to the group because she was worried about her legal risk due to a planned contraceptive implant procedure. (Contraceptives remain legal in the US. Kansas City Star has more Information on access in Missouri.) Women also asked if law enforcement could use data from period tracking apps to sue them for abortion. (Period tracking apps can be dangerous, but other data may be more incriminating.)

For those seeking information, the group directs people, as far as possible, to reputable sources, including organizations with expertise in abortion advocacy and assistance.

People seem to learn about the group mostly through word of mouth, and the response startled Reisinger, who now moderates messages at any time, including minutes after Saturday’s run.

But the group became very active very quickly, and Reisinger said she felt overwhelmed. She said she quickly changed her plans: “We had a band before we really knew what we were doing.”

Like many other Facebook groups, Reisinger decided that the best way to keep the conversation from derailing was to set rules and stick to them strictly. The rule of thumb is, “Don’t be a jerk,” and there’s no room for disputes over abortion rights.

People who want to join a group must first answer why they support “camping”. (Some people obviously think this is a Facebook group about nature.) Each newcomer, as well as each post, is approved by a moderator, of which there are now about 20 people that Reisinger recruited after the group got too big to handle. one man.

To protect people from the security risks that could come with offering travel or lodging to strangers, the group began blocking messages that offered personal assistance with an abortion.

Critics of Facebook have said for years that groups on the site become hubs for the unverified conspiracy theories or misinformation about health. And fringe groups on Facebook and elsewhere on the Internet have spread false ideas or calls for violence in response to Rowe’s ruling. After Facebook flagged some comments in Reisinger’s group for violating the company’s rules against violence and incitement, she asked members to stop suggesting violence as a solution. (Everything I read in the group was respectful and non-violent.)

I asked Reisinger how the behavior of people on Facebook might be different from the behavior in the real community. Are people more emotionally vulnerable or more violent?

“People on Facebook are worse than in real life? Almost always yes,” she said. But on the other hand, the group would never have expanded so quickly without social media, she said.

Reisinger says she doesn’t know what the future holds for the Facebook community she created in a fit of rage. She hopes to use people’s energy in productive activities. Mobilization is under discussion around august elections in Kansasin which voters will decide whether to remove the right to abortion from the state constitution.

“The momentum we have is something I don’t lose sight of,” Reisinger said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to make sure this is put to good use.”

tip of the week

Hu boy, Brian H. Chen, a consumer technology columnist for The New York Times, told a horror story about a journey in 2022. And he gives advice to avoid his bad experience.

Last year, I wrote a column on using technology to plan travel during the pandemic. This advice still applies: Check your destination’s travel and tourism websites for potential Covid-19 vaccine claims and test results, and carry digital copy of your health data on your smartphone.

I have another hard earned lesson from my own bad experience.

This year I booked plane tickets to fly across the country for a fall wedding. I used Hopper, a travel price comparison service, to find and book the cheapest Delta flights.

I’m sorry about that. Over the past few months, Delta has rerouted my flight several times and even canceled one of my connecting flights. After waiting over an hour to speak with a Delta representative, the company put me on another flight. Problem solved? No.

When I did not receive confirmation of my new ticket, I contacted again. A Delta representative told me that Hopper canceled the ticket after Delta changed it. The only way to contact Hopper is via email support, which can take up to 48 hours to respond if you don’t want to pay more.

After an email to Hopper and another call to Delta, the airline put me back on another flight. I sent another email to Hopper asking him not to touch the booking. Crisis averted. I hope.

Lesson? If you are booking your trip online, make the process easier. Airlines are understaffed and you may experience long wait times for customer support. Travel booking services like Expedia and Hopper can save you money, but they may not be worth it.

Eliminate middlemen and book directly with airlines and hotels. That way, if you run into problems, you’ll be dealing with one company instead of two.

Read more summer travel tips from Seth Kugel, who is trying to help The Times readers solve their travel problems.

  • Removing your period tracker will not protect you. Text messages, email receipts, and Google searches contain more data about people who want abortions than the tracker, my colleague Cash Hill. wrote.

    From the On Tech environment: Our data is a curse, with or without Rowe..

  • Amazon moved to limit LGBT-related items and search results on its website in the United Arab Emirates after government pressure on the company, my colleague Karen Wise. informed. This is the latest example of the compromises tech companies are making to operate in restrictive countries.

  • “Everything happens so often.” This weird but perfect tweet from 10 years ago is repeated regularly when people feel depressed what is happening around them, explained The Atlantic. There is also a mysterious backstory to what appeared to be a computer-generated Twitter account, but was not. (Subscription may be required.)

Running (sort of) goats. Every summer, a park in New York attracts goats to eat invasive plants. They were released into the park on Wednesday, and not all of them are exactly hooves. (See what I was doing there?!)

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