Meta and Zuckerberg Slammed with Lawsuit Accusing them of Failing to Safeguard Against Child Sexual Exploitation
Meta and company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are being hit with a lawsuit from shareholders. The lawsuit, which was
Meta and company founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg are being hit with a lawsuit from shareholders.
The lawsuit, which was filed by several pension and investment fundholders that owned Meta stock, allege that executives and directors have failed to do enough to stop sex trafficking and child sexual exploitation on both Facebook and Instagram.
The case is known as Employees’ Retirement System of the State of Rhode Island et al v Zuckerberg.
The lawsuit, made public late Monday, claims that Meta’s leadership and board have failed to protect the company and shareholders’ interests.
The court filings allege that the company turned a blind eye to “systemic evidence” of criminal activity.
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The lawsuit reads in part that the board has failed to explain how it attempts to root out the problem on its platforms, and “the only logical inference is that the board has consciously decided to permit Meta’s platforms to promote and facilitate sex/human trafficking.”
Meta rejected the claims made in the lawsuit, responding, “We prohibit human exploitation and child sexual exploitation in no uncertain terms. The claims in this lawsuit mischaracterize our efforts to combat this type of activity. Our goal is to prevent people who seek to exploit others from using our platform.”
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Reuters reports, “Zuckerberg, Meta’s billionaire co-founder and chief executive, told Congress in 2019 that child exploitation was ‘one of the most serious threats that we focus on.’
Meta, based in Menlo Park, California, has long faced accusations that its platforms are a haven for sexual misconduct.
In June 2021, the Texas Supreme Court allowed three people who became entangled with their abusers through Facebook to sue, saying Facebook was not a ‘lawless no-man’s-land’ immune from liability for human trafficking.
Meta separately faces hundreds of lawsuits from families of teenagers and younger children who claimed to suffer mental health problems by becoming addicted to Facebook and Instagram. Some school districts have also filed lawsuits over the problem.”
The pressure on Meta comes as the US ramps up pressure on other tech companies too, including TikTok, and Silicon Valley is called to answer for their handling of user data and safety online.