Facebook Is Reportedly Responsible For 59% Of All Sex Trafficking Recruitment That Takes Place Online

A report conducted by the Human Trafficking Institute revealed that an estimated 59% of all online sex trafficking recruitment in the USA took place on Facebook.

This is just another highly problematic notch to add on to the social network’s worryingly long belt. The company was called upon in a Congressional hearing over its role in online safety and mishandling of user information. The social media platform was accused of, and then proven to be, unintentionally hosting Foreign AI bots that would influence the displaying of media by popularizing only specific topics. The company was yet again pelted by accusations, after many social media research outlets revealed that much of the 2021 US Capitol riots' planning took place on its platform. It's also been validly criticized for leaking users information in the name of targeted advertising. The last one is a claim that Facebook doesn’t even shy away from, having the audacity to actively challenge Apple's new privacy features as it would bar the company from doing so. And this author is sure there are many, many other incidents that they have missed out.

This latest revelation, while very on brand for a company that can’t even seem to moderate it’s own bots, is still very alarming. Many young, impressionable individuals still visit the site, and engage with content there. With these alarming statistics, the online space becomes very worrisome. It’s rather difficult to ever completely know what one's child is encountering on the other side of the screen. And while extreme vigilance is definitely a parent's active responsibility, we cannot shift discourse away from Facebook's role in the matter.

The 59% of all online trafficking recruitment that took online is data pieced together from 2020. What's alarming is that this number is actively increasing each year, as more and more individuals join the online space. The report also further estimated that 53% of online victims were underage, with the population mostly concentrated around the ages of 14-17. This is the world we live in: where the online world is now just as dangerous as abandoned alleys. Facebook needs to highly amp up it's online moderation, scouting and banning all such platforms and individuals. What’s more is that such moderation must inspire to mimic constant vigilance, as opposed to doing monthly sweeps across the platform.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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