Facebook could be held liable for sex trafficking on its platform, court rules

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The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Facebook can be held liable if sex traffickers use the platform to prey on children.

The state court ruled that Facebook is not a “lawless no-man’s-land” and could be held accountable following three Texas-based lawsuits that involved teenage sex traffic victims, the Houston Chronicle first reported. 

The victims were reportedly preyed on through the social media platform’s messaging system – prompting prosecutors to claim the site was negligent in not better blocking sex trafficking opportunities.

Facebook contended that it is protected under Section 230 – an internet law that says online platforms are not responsible for thirdparty content posted on the service’s site. 

“Holding internet platforms accountable for words or actions of their users is one thing, and the federal precedent uniformly dictates that section 230 does not allow it,” the court found, according to the Chronicle. “Holding internet platforms accountable for their own misdeeds is quite another thing. This is particularly the case for human trafficking.”

Facebook told Fox Business they are considering “next steps” following the court’s decision.

“We’re reviewing the decision and considering potential next steps. Sex trafficking is abhorrent and not allowed on Facebook,” a spokesman said.  “We will continue our fight against the spread of this content and the predators who engage in it.” 

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It’s funny how Facebook can sniff out with their algorithms any utterance of something that sounds conservative, but they can’t sniff out sexual predators.

8 Comments on Facebook could be held liable for sex trafficking on its platform, court rules

  1. but they can’t sniff out sexual predators.

    The entire progressive platform revolves around sticking, sucking, using, abusing, assault, criminal/mental behaviour, etc. The platform is synonymous in part with any and all sexual misdeeds. Blocking these keywords is equivalent to blocking the progressive platform. “They can’t” is correct.

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  2. They are profiting from it & selling adds and gathering marketable data so……

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  3. This ruling actually strengthens Facebook’s censorship stance. If they are liable for the consequences of what people do with the platform they have an obligation to monitor and block or remove problematic messages.

  4. How can they claim they can’t be held liable because section 230 exempts them, but then they censor political content they don’t like?

    Political discourse is legal. Sex trafficking is not.

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  5. They did it to Backpage, if one were of a cynical bent, one might think the prospect of multi million dollar fines is just too enticing.

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