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Friday, May 24, 2024

100,000 Children are Harassed on Meta Daily: Internal Documents Reveal

Disturbing revelations emerge as internal documents expose Meta's alleged failure to protect children on Facebook and Instagram, with estimates of 100,000 daily cases of online sexual harassment.

Newly unsealed legal documents reveal disturbing estimates that approximately 100,000 children using Facebook and Instagram face online sexual harassment daily, including the distribution of explicit content. The information is part of an ongoing lawsuit initiated by the New Mexico attorney general’s office, accusing Meta of turning its social networks into marketplaces for child predators.

The documents detail an incident in 2020 where a 12-year-old, the daughter of an Apple executive, was solicited via Instagram’s messaging product. Meta employees expressed concerns over child safety, with one admitting that efforts to address the issue were ignored. The revelations indicate internal conflicts, with references to Apple’s dissatisfaction and the potential removal of Meta’s apps from the App Store.

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Meta, owned by Mark Zuckerberg, in response to the filing, denied the allegations, stating that the lawsuit mischaracterizes their efforts and selective quotes. The company emphasized its commitment to teen safety, mentioning over 30 tools dedicated to supporting a safe online experience. However, internal presentations and chats disclosed in the lawsuit shed light on underinvestment in preventing minor sexualization on Instagram.

The legal filing also touches on Meta’s controversial rollout of end-to-end encryption for messages, criticized for hindering efforts to combat child sex trafficking. Child safety advocates argue that encryption obstructs rescue efforts and predator prosecutions. Meta has faced prior criticism for failing to report or detect child trafficking on its platforms, especially within Messenger, which was identified as a communication tool for traffickers.

The lawsuit follows an investigation by The Guardian revealing Meta’s shortcomings in addressing child trafficking on its platforms and internal discussions on Messenger being used to coordinate trafficking activities. The unsealed documents expose the extent of internal knowledge and concerns regarding child safety issues within Meta, leading to heightened scrutiny and renewed calls for accountability.