Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has issued a public call to Mark Zuckerberg
, the CEO of Meta, imploring him to testify on his platforms' purported involvement in human trafficking cases. This plea follows the findings of a disconcerting Florida-based survey, examining the widespread use of social media in human trafficking incidents.
In a formal letter addressed to the tech mogul, Moody revealed the alarming statistics unearthed by their investigation. Out of 271 reported instances of social media use in human trafficking cases, an overwhelming 146 cases were linked to Meta platforms, an alarming revelation that places Meta under intense scrutiny.
Moody's invitation to Zuckerberg focuses on addressing this grave concern – what plans does Meta have in place to halt the exploitation of its platforms by traffickers, and what measures will it take to curb this harrowing crime?
Meta's expansive network includes social media giants such as Facebook
, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Collaborating with various law enforcement agencies, the council has been investigating instances where these platforms may have served as conduits for human trafficking operations.
As the council gears up for its next meeting scheduled for October 2, Moody has requested a response from Zuckerberg by September 5.
"Before delving into new product launches or frivolous engagements, Zuckerberg's immediate attention should be directed towards safeguarding users on Meta's existing platforms and preventing the victimization of vulnerable individuals coerced into unlawful sex work," stated Moody in a recent press release.
The attorney general's disconcerting assertion is backed by the survey's findings and additional reports, which collectively indicate that traffickers have a marked preference for Meta platforms when targeting susceptible individuals.
In her appeal to Zuckerberg, Moody emphasized the urgency of addressing this public safety threat, urging him to testify before the council on Meta's preventative measures against the misuse of its platforms in facilitating or supporting human trafficking.
The state-wide study, carried out by Moody and the council in collaboration with law enforcement agencies, focused on documented instances since 2019 where social media was implicated in the facilitation of human trafficking operations or the control of victims.
The study encompassed 80 law enforcement agencies, including all 67 sheriff's offices and major city police departments. Disturbingly, the 2022 Federal Human Trafficking Report listed Facebook
as the primary platform used for the recruitment of human trafficking victims from 2019 to 2022. Combined with Instagram, these two platforms constituted 60% of the top ten platforms mentioned in the study.
Florida's Attorney General is now insisting that Zuckerberg discuss Meta's platforms' prevalent role in "assisting, facilitating or supporting human trafficking" before the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children's 2022 CyberTipline Reports by Electronic Service Providers further corroborated these unsettling findings, with over 27 million incidents reported – a staggering 85% – traced back to Meta platforms.