Facebook to face lawsuit over sex trafficking

Facebook is facing lawsuits filed by three women who claim they were ensnared on the social-media site by sex traffickers and forced into prostitution, according to Bloomberg.

The women were given the go-ahead to sue the social media giant under a state law that allows legal action against those who benefit from sex trafficking by Justin James Blacklock of the Texas Supreme Court.

However, Blacklock said the women are unable pursue claims under federal law that Facebook failed to warn minors and take measures to block sex trafficking activity on its site.

The lawsuit claims that Facebook hasn’t put in enough effective safeguards to block sex traffickers and abusers on the site as it benefits from advertising to over 2 billion users.

The women say that the company won’t use its advertising space for public service announcements regarding the dangers of sex trafficking.

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Facebook has responded to the claims by appealing to the Supreme Court after it tried to get the complaints thrown out in a district court however failed to do so.

The big tech behemoth claimed that it is protected under Section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act which protects websites from lawsuits over what its users post online.

However, its appeal was rejected, with the judge ruling that “the statutory claim for knowingly or intentionally benefiting from participation in a human-trafficking venture is not barred by Section 230.”

Blacklock has since suggested that Section 230, which was written in 1996 may be outdated and require Congress to make changes to the law.

“Perhaps advances in technology now allow online platforms to more easily police their users’ posts,” he said.

“On the other hand, perhaps subjecting online platforms to greater liability for their users’ injurious activity would reduce freedom of speech on the internet by encouraging platforms to censor ‘dangerous’ content to avoid lawsuits.”

Charged has contacted Facebook for comment.

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