Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg staring off to the left.

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Florida is going after Meta for facilitating human trafficking

Florida’s Attorney General says Zuckerberg should focus on app safety instead of ‘wasting time for a cage match.’

 

Mikael Thalen

Tech

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been called to appear before a council on human trafficking by the state of Florida.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, who serves as chair of the council, stated in a letter to Zuckerberg on Monday that the governmental body had been tasked with assessing “the frequency and extent to which social media platforms are used to assist, facilitate or support human trafficking.”

Citing a survey of law enforcement agencies in Florida, Moody reported that the results, described as “extraordinary,” showed frequent use among human trafficking operations of apps run by Meta.

“According to the survey, 146 of the 271 reported instances of social media platform use
in human trafficking were attributable to Meta platforms (lnstagram, Facebook,
WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger), more than 53% of the reported instances
involved,” Moody wrote. “To put this number in perspective, after Meta platforms, the next-highest social media platform used in human trafficking was Snapchat, and it was utilized 19 times,
seven times less than Meta platform.”

Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger are among the top five most popular social media apps in the world. The letter further stated that, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s 2022 CyberTipline Reports by Electronic Service Providers, 85% of the incidents reported were from Meta platforms.

“As Chair of the Council, and as Florida’s Attorney General, I invite you to appear before the Council to discuss this very important issue and address the Council as to what Meta is doing to prevent its platforms from being used to assist, facilitate or support human trafficking,” she added.

In a separate statement, Moody also took aim at Zuckerberg for “wasting time preparing for a cage match that will likely never happen.”

“Zuckerberg should be working to make Meta’s existing platforms safer for users and to prevent vulnerable people from being forced into illicit sex work,” Moody continued.

The meeting is set to be held on Oct. 2. Zuckerberg has been asked by Moody to respond to the invitation no later than Sept. 5.

The letter comes just one month after a report from the Wall Street Journal revealed that Instagram’s algorithm had been promoting child abuse material. The serious issue, however, was quickly seized by conspiracy theorists to push claims regarding PizzaGate.

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