Sexual exploitation through the use of the Internet remains a big problem in the wake of the pandemic. Several large tech companies – including Google, Facebook and Netflix – are included on the Dirty Dozen list compiled by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
“Corporations and popular brands shape our culture and influence the ways we think, act and feel about ourselves and others,” said Lina Nealon, director of corporate and strategic initiatives for the center. “And while many of these entities bring positive benefits and allow us to communicate, learn, work and relax, unfortunately, many are also fueling sexual exploitation through their business practices, policies and products.”
Children and marginalized people, in particular, are being harmed at record numbers. “We cannot allow this reality to go unchallenged, and our annual Dirty Dozen List advocates for crucial changes toward corporate social responsibility,” she said.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas said the high court should reexamine the federal law that gives social media websites broad legal immunity when those platforms are used to commit crimes.
His comments came after the high court declined to hear an appeal from a Texas woman who as a teenager was friended by a man under a false name on Facebook who was, in reality, a sex trafficker. After she had a fight with her mother, the man tricked the then-15-year-old girl into thinking she could make enough money by modeling to live on her own. The woman said after the man picked her up, she was raped, beaten, photographed and forced into sex trafficking.
The Supreme Court declined to hear the woman’s appeal, but Thomas said the court should address the proper scope of immunity in an appropriate case. Thomas said the law’s interpretation is too broad.
“It is hard to see why the protection §230(c)(1) grants publishers against being held strictly liable for third parties’ content should protect Facebook from liability for its own acts and omissions,” he said. “At the very least, before we close the door on such serious charges, we should be certain that is what the law demands.”
The complete list is available at www.endsexualexploitation.org.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice