TEXAS SUPREME COURT RULES THAT FACEBOOK COULD BE HELD LIABLE FOR SEX TRAFFICKING ON ITS PLATFORM
These are fascinating times regarding global social media platforms and who is responsible when someone is exploited through a social media post. Whether it is one of our naïve and vulnerable kids playing online or an unaccompanied minor being lured in by a coyote through social media. Have you ever considered when a minor is exploited online, who is responsible?
The parent most often buys the minor a phone and downloads the apps. When downloading an app, you must click on "I agree" to get the app. Most parents never read the terms of what they agree to including the minimal age requirement of the user. The parent has determined their child is more responsible than most people their age and overlooks any age requirement believing their child will not violate the terms of the app contract. The child then decides that they are more sophisticated or mature than others and overlooks the rules the parent has agreed to by accessing and downloading apps they are not legally old enough to use. Often they send explicit videos and photos where they end up connecting with a pedophile, pimp or gang member and are violated.
The app platform feels they are protected because the parent has "agreed" to their terms. Additionally the larger app companies have more than 2 billion users and their position is that their services are offered with the users agreement to terms and conditions and it is impossible for them to monitor every post to see if it contains sexually explicit materials or exploitation of an underage user.
Social media is a unique phenomenon. Historically, social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and even some of the world's largest porn sites have contended that they are protected under Section 230 - an internet law that says online platforms are not responsible for third party content posted on the service's site.
Social media is not like a public utility where you pay a fee and use the communications device. It is a platform offering the public free access to post a wide range of content words, photos, videos etc provided they agree to abide by their "contract" to use the platform appropriately.
In 2018 Congress passed Fosta/Sesta laws signed by then President Trump.
In essence these laws hold social media platform organizations responsible for the content that the public has posted on their site. This law makes it illegal to knowingly assist, facilitate, or support sex trafficking, and amend the Section 230 safe harbors of the Communications Decency Act (which make online services immune from civil liability for the actions of their users) to exclude enforcement of federal or state sex trafficking laws from its immunity.
Texas’ highest court has ruled that Facebook can be held liable for sex trafficking carried out on its social media platforms, after several victims accused the company of knowingly benefiting from its online facilitation. Friday’s ruling by the state’s Supreme Court allows three civil lawsuits by trafficking victims to proceed against the social media giant, after the court determined that current laws do not permit Facebook, or any other website, to act as a “lawless no-man’s-land,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
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Please note: A criminal complaint, an arrest, or an indictment is a formal accusation or allegation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.
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