The Texas Supreme Court has ruled that Facebook can legally be held liable for human trafficking conducted on its platform. The court ruling comes after three teenage sex trafficking victims allege they were targeted through Facebook.
Attorney’s for Facebook argued that the social network was protected against liability as a result of the Communications Decency Act. The act “protects websites from lawsuits if a user posts something illegal.” However, this does not always include copyright violations, sex work-related material, and violations of federal criminal laws.
Texas Supreme Court ruled on Friday that Facebook is able to be liable for sex trafficking initiated on their platform. Facebook is not “lawless no-man’s-land,” according to the Judge. “Holding internet platforms accountable for the words or actions of their users is one thing, and the federal precedent uniformly dictates that section 230 does not allow it,” the ruling stated, per the Houston Chronicle. “Holding internet platforms accountable for their own misdeeds is quite another thing. This is particularly the case for human trafficking.”
Three Texas-based lawsuits led to the ruling. Those cases were brought against Facebook, which alleged the social media platform enabled sex traffickers to target minors. The victims were 13, 14, and 16 when sex traffickers used Facebook to prey on them. The lawsuit alleged Facebook was negligent in not protecting minors from sex traffickers on the social media website.
Personally, I am in favor of anything that can help cut down on trafficking and if this gets Facebook’s attention to make changes then I fully support the ruling. Do you think Facebook contributes to human trafficking?