Ashley Moody, the Attorney General of Florida, has requested Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO of Meta, to testify about the alleged use of Facebook by human traffickers.
The request was made in a letter penned by Moody, who has asked Zuckerberg to appear before Florida’s Statewide Council on Human Trafficking in October. The request was based on reports from law enforcement agencies that have linked human trafficking cases to Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp.
Moody, who chairs Florida’s human trafficking council, stated in a press release that Meta platforms are the preferred social media applications for human traffickers targeting vulnerable individuals. She urged Zuckerberg to focus on making Meta’s existing platforms safer for users and to prevent the exploitation of vulnerable people for illicit sex work.
The council conducted a survey among Florida law enforcement agencies to understand the role of various social media companies in facilitating human trafficking. The survey revealed that over 53% of the 271 human trafficking cases involving social media were linked to Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Facebook Messenger.
Moody has asked Zuckerberg to discuss what Meta is doing to prevent its platforms from being used to assist, facilitate, or support human trafficking. She has requested a response from Zuckerberg by September 5. This request follows a report from The Wall Street Journal and academic researchers that accused Instagram of facilitating a “vast pedophile network.”
The report, in collaboration with researchers at Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, claimed that Instagram allowed and promoted accounts that openly purchased and commissioned “underage-sex content.” The report also revealed that in 2022, Facebook reported more than 21 million instances of “apparent child pornography” while Instagram reported over 5 million.