Sex trafficking is a big problem in Texas, as it is in so many states, and Dan Gainor of MRC TechWatch says mega-popular Facebook is the favorite platform of the traffickers.
“Fifty-nine percent of the active sex-trafficking cases in Texas occurred on Facebook in 2020,” he tells One News Now.
The COVID-19 pandemic likely played a deal in those statistics, Gainor allows, since millions more people were at home and online, but regardless that is an “appalling” statistic to consider, he says.
Several victims of the vile trade are suing the tech giant, saying it should have done more to protect vulnerable users.
The civil code in Texas states a defendant who engages in the trafficking of persons, or who intentionally or knowingly benefits from it, is liable to the victims.
Despite that allowance, Gainor says it's a tall bar.
“Remember, they rely on a lot of automated processes,” he says of Facebook. “And so if this is happening, then they're probably not searching for the right things or blocking the wrong people, etc.”
Facebook claims it is protected by Section 230 of the federal decency act, which states a platform is not responsible for the content its users post.
Gainor says that protection only goes so far. “It doesn't protect you from flat-out crimes,” he says.
He predicts the case could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.