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Facebook could be held liable for sex trafficking on its platform, court rules

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Facebook can be held liable if sex traffickers use the platform to prey on children.

Facebook is not a “lawless no-man’s-land,” according to the court’s ruling. Moreover, the social media giant could be held accountable following three Texas-based lawsuits that involved teenage sex traffic victims, the Houston Chronicle reported. At issue is Facebook’s messaging system, which allowed predators to contact victims. Consequently, prosecutors claim the social media platform was negligent in not better blocking sex trafficking opportunities.

Facebook says it is protected under “Section 230,” Fox Business reported. Section 230 of the United States Communications Decency Act generally provides immunity for website platforms from third-party content. It has become hotly debated in the past year whether social media providers should maintain this protection.

“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,” the court found, according to the Chronicle. “Holding internet platforms accountable for their own misdeeds is quite another thing. This is particularly the case for human trafficking.”

Reforming Section 230 could mean the social media giants are held to more stringent standards regarding what is transmitted on their platforms. According to Fox Business, Facebook said they are considering “next steps” following the court’s decision.

ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEWS DOME

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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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