Just days after Facebook announced it wanted to create an independent panel to deal with content removal, another terrible example of the site’s shortcomings occurred this week. According to children’s rights organization Plan International, an auction was held on Facebook for the rights to marry a 16-year-old girl in South Sudan.
The auction, which reportedly netted the girl’s father $10,000, three cars and 500 cows, started on Facebook on October 25. It was not removed from the platform until November 9—15 days later, and after the girl had already been married.
This is obviously outrageous, and the slow response time has already drawn fierce criticism from activists around the globe.
“[Facebook] ought to put in place more human resources to monitor their platform to ensure that women’s rights, and indeed the rights of all people, are protected,” Judy Gitau of Equality Now told CNN. For its part, Facebook said that this sort of content is unacceptable, and that it permanently banned the individual responsible.
“Any form of human trafficking—whether posts, pages, ads or groups is not allowed on Facebook. We removed the post and permanently disabled the account belonging to the person who posted this to Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement.
However, no matter what Facebook says, the fact remains that it didn’t act until it was too late to stop this terrible rights violation from occurring. The company may have good intentions, but it needs to do a better job of detecting these problems before they get this serious.
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