Zuckerberg, Meta Leaders Face Human Trafficking Allegations (3)

April 20, 2023

Mark Zuckerberg and other senior leaders of Meta Platforms Inc. are facing shareholder litigation over claims they’ve spent years ignoring “rampant” sex trafficking and child exploitation that have “flourished” on Facebook and Instagram.

A group of pension and investment funds filed a shareholder derivative lawsuit in Delaware, targeting current and former members of the tech giant’s board and management. The suit accuses them of doing nothing despite being “well aware” that “predatory criminal activities” are thriving on the company’s social media platforms.

“For the past decade, Meta’s platforms have assisted, supported, and facilitated perpetrators of widespread systemic sex trafficking, human trafficking, and child sexual exploitation that has occurred on a massive scale on Meta’s platforms,” the complaint says. “Although the board and management have known about this increasing trend, both management and the board have consciously turned a blind eye.”

The allegations represent the latest in a wave of legal challenges confronting Meta, which has faced growing scrutiny from courts, investors, and lawmakers in recent years over its data practices, alleged antitrust violations, and mental health impact on users, particularly children and teens.

Andy Stone, a spokesperson for Meta, said Tuesday in a statement provided to Bloomberg Law that the company “prohibits human exploitation and child sexual exploitation in no uncertain terms.”

“The claims in this lawsuit mischaracterize our efforts to combat this type of activity,” Stone said. “Our goal is to prevent people who seek to exploit others from using our platform, and we work closely with organizations like Polaris, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Stop the Traffik to inform these efforts.”

A partly redacted version of the 201-page suit was made public Tuesday. The complaint was originally filed under seal March 8 in Delaware’s Chancery Court.


Read the full story by Mike Leonard on Bloomburg Law.

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