Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has stepped up to the plate against Meta Platforms and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, demanding answers to concerns about a surging volume of human trafficking on its platforms. With reports indicating child predators exploit the metaverse for horrific acts, Moody is calling Zuckerberg to account.
Moody recently addressed a letter to Zuckerberg, inviting him to a discussion with Florida’s Statewide Council on Human Trafficking. Moody emphasized the need for transparency regarding Meta’s preventative measures to counteract human trafficking on its sites. Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, all Meta products, are in the spotlight.
Rather than gearing up for an Elon Musk cage-match or launching new products, Moody argues, “Zuckerberg should be working to make Meta’s existing platforms safer for users and to prevent vulnerable people from being forced into illicit work.” Meta’s focus should be shifted from profit-making pursuits to safeguarding its users, a fundamental duty of any social media conglomerate.
Recent survey results and reports have presented a concerning picture of Meta’s platforms. The survey findings indicated that Meta’s applications have become the preferred playground for human traffickers preying on vulnerable individuals. Moody highlighted this grim reality: “Zuckerberg needs to immediately turn his attention to this public safety threat.”
Adding to the urgency, a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in 2022 revealed that 85% of the reported instances were from Meta platforms. Furthermore, Facebook has been identified as the leading platform for recruiting human trafficking victims from 2019 to 2022.
Responding to these allegations, a Meta spokesperson declared the company’s zero-tolerance policy toward all forms of human exploitation. However, the statement fell short of explicitly mentioning whether Zuckerberg would meet Moody’s deadline for a response, raising questions about Meta’s commitment to tackling the issue.
While there’s no official claim that Meta consciously disregards the human trafficking threat on its platforms, the reported efficacy of Meta’s algorithms in filtering out specific content types begs the question. If these systems can effectively regulate content challenging certain narratives, shouldn’t they be equally effective in tracking down and eliminating illegal activity?
It’s vital that Zuckerberg and Meta address these concerns head-on, demonstrating their commitment to public safety over profits or product launches. If they can masterfully develop complex algorithms to silence conservative voices, one would expect them to use the same ingenuity to protect the most vulnerable users.
The struggle against human trafficking is a fight for human dignity, and it’s time for Meta to step up and be counted. Florida’s AG Moody has thrown down the gauntlet. Now it’s up to Zuckerberg and his team at Meta to respond, not just with words, but with tangible, effective actions.