Apple has threatened to remove Facebook from its App Store following the investigation that exposed how human traffickers were using the site to sell people.
The media outlet saw company documents showing that a Facebook research team was tracking a human trafficking market in the Middle East whose organizers were using the services of this well-known social network created by Mark Zuckerberg.
According to the Journal, unauthorized employment agencies were advertising domestic workers against their will.
The BBC published an extensive undercover investigation of this practice, which led Apple to threaten to remove Facebook from its download service.
An internal statement revealed that Facebook was aware of these practices, even before then: a Facebook researcher wrote in a 2019 report, “Was this problem known to Facebook before the BBC investigation and Apple’s escalation?”
Below the question reads, “Yes. Throughout 2018 and the first half of 2019, we conducted the global insight exercise to fully understand how domestic servitude manifests itself on our platform throughout its entire lifecycle: recruitment, facilitation, and exploitation.”
Last Thursday, the Wall Street Journal detailed how Facebook’s artificial intelligence content moderators aren’t able to detect most languages used on the platform, implying that the company will struggle to monitor material in foreign markets where it has expanded.
This is an issue. The study revealed that human moderators in that business can’t communicate the languages used in those markets, leaving a gap in Google’s efforts to combat bad content.
According to the Journal, one consequence was drug cartels and human traffickers utilizing Facebook to conduct transactions.
Apple and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment from the Journal.
The “Facebook files”
This week the Wall Street Journal began publishing a series of articles based on an internal Facebook document it was able to access.
Last Tuesday it emerged that an internal investigation recently conducted by the company concluded that its popular image and video platform Instagram, owned by the multinational led by Mark Zuckerberg, is toxic for its users, especially teenage girls.
“Some 32% of girls say that when they feel bad about their bodies, Instagram makes them feel worse,” details the internal report called The Facebook Files, to which the Wall Street Journal had access.
“Comparisons to what they see on Instagram can alter the way young women perceive and describe themselves,” the paper concludes.
According to the document, Facebook studied for years how Instagram affects its users for three years. In 2019, an internal presentation revealed that the social network “worsens mental issues about self-image in one in three teenage girls.”