Last month, the state of New Mexico filed a lawsuit against Facebook for failing to protect children and for recommending sexual content to minors via its algorithm. And now, facts are beginning to emerge in court that paints a shocking picture of Facebook’s complicity in the problem. In fact, newly redacted documents presented in the case have revealed an internal Facebook presentation that estimated 100,000 children on the platform receive photos of adult genitalia and other content that depicts sexual abuse every day.
According to this internal document, Facebook’s People You May Know (PYMK) feature is the primary culprit for connecting children with predators. One employee even said that it was responsible for 75 percent of all inappropriate adult-minor contact.
“How on earth have we not just turned off PYMK between adults and children?” one Facebook employee said. “It’s really, really upsetting,” added another. However, New Mexico claims that Facebook did almost nothing to address the issue, only blocking suggestions for adults who had already demonstrated suspicious behavior. And while Facebook has recently introduced stronger features to limit the content teens see on their feeds, that likely won’t be enough to ward off the consequences of these damning reports.
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