Facebook has struggled to crack down on human trafficking

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Facebook for years has reportedly struggled to crack down on human traffickers using its platforms, leaked documents show.

Facebook has known about human traffickers using its platforms since at least 2018, according to CNN.

The issues got so bad that in 2019, Apple threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram from the App Store, which would have been devastating to the company.

Internally, Facebook employees scrambled to remove problematic posts and made emergency policy changes to being blocked from the App Store, which they described as a “potentially severe” consequence for the company, according to CNN.

While Facebook managed to dodge the App Store ban, it continues to struggle with human-trafficking issues to this day, the documents reportedly show.

An internal Facebook report from earlier this year noted that “gaps still exist in our detection of on-platform entities engaged in domestic servitude,” according to CNN.

Facebook.
In 2019, Apple threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram from the App Store over human trafficking.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Domestic servitude is “a form of trafficking of people for the purpose of working inside private homes through the use of force, fraud, coercion or deception,” CNN reported.

The internal report also detailed how Facebook’s platforms are used to recruit, buy and sell what Facebook describes internally as “domestic servants.”

Redacted versions of the leaked documents, which were shared in formal complaints with the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as Congress, were then shared with a consortium of news organizations, including Reuters, which are expected to publish a slew of stories Monday.

Mark Zuckerberg.
An internal Facebook report from earlier this year noted that “gaps still exist in our detection of on-platform entities engaged in domestic servitude.”
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Last week, using search terms listed in Facebook’s internal documents on the subject, CNN said it was able to find active Instagram accounts that appeared to offer domestic workers for sale.

Facebook removed the accounts and posts after CNN asked about them, and spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed to the outlet that they violated its policies.

“We prohibit human exploitation in no uncertain terms,” Stone said.

Facebook.
Facebook has known about human traffickers using its platforms since at least 2018.
Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

“We’ve been combating human trafficking on our platform for many years and our goal remains to prevent anyone who seeks to exploit others from having a home on our platform.”

Shares of Facebook were up slightly at $325.67 Monday afternoon after falling more than 5 percent in the last trading session on Friday.

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