Last Friday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Facebook can face charges for sex trafficking. If sex traffickers use the platform to prey on children, it follows that the social media platform can face charges for enabling this.
Texas Supreme Court Rules Facebook Can Face Charges
The Houston Chronicle reported that the state court said Facebook isn’t a lawless no man's land it purports itself. Instead, three Texas lawsuits involving teenage sex trafficking victims can hold the social media platform liable. Sex traffickers managed to prey on the victims using Facebook’s social media messaging system.
Meanwhile, the victims accused Facebook of violating a state anti-trafficking law passed in 2009. In particular, this law makes a defendant who traffics a person, or who intentionally or knowingly benefits from the act, liable to the victim.
As a result, the prosecutors claimed that the company remains negligent in preventing sex trafficking opportunities. As such, they are on the hook for the violation. In response, Facebook insisted that they remain protected under Section 230. This is a measure that removes the platform from any liability for third-party content posted on their sites.
Next Steps For Facebook
However, the Texas Supreme Court dismissed the claims of immunity. “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.
Holding internet platforms accountable for their own misdeeds is quite another thing. This is particularly the case for human trafficking,” the court said.
As a result of the sex trafficking lawsuit, Facebook said they are now considering the “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.”
Taking Aim At Section 230
During the administration of former President Donald Trump, the Republicans made initial moves to cut down Section 230. The party believes that the section unfairly permits political dominance by Democrats on social media.
This led to the rise of what is known as to cancel culture, where sustained social media campaigns can destroy a person overnight. In fact, tempering Section 230 could force social companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google to apply more rigorous standards in managing their content.
Thankfully, Democrats are showing more cooperation with the Republicans on this one. They have recently signified a bipartisan interest to heavily regulate social media. This follows after the social media firestorm that erupted and led to the January 6 riots at the Capitol.
Watch the 11 Network Australia video reporting that Facebook could be held liable for sex trafficking:
Do you agree that social media companies like Facebook need to be held accountable for things that go on in their platforms? In addition, do you think Facebook will own up that its platform gets used by many criminals and predators? What can Facebook do if ever?
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