Meta and Facebook, in the eye of the hurricane: 100,000 children are harassed every day on the internet

Internal Meta documents warn that every day approximately 100,000 children are victims of sexual harassment through Facebook and Instagram. The note came to light this Wednesday, and is part of the evidence collected by the New Mexico state attorney general’s office investigating Mark Zuckerberg’s company.

And the prosecution has received a large amount of information linked to presentations and communications of the company’s employees. The data demonstrates both the severity of the problem and the knowledge that Meta had about it.

A case of singular importance occurred in 2020 when A 12-year-old girl was harassed through the social network Instagram. The youngest was the daughter of an Apple executive. One of Meta’s employees noted: “This is the kind of thing that infuriates Apple to the point where it threatens to remove us from its store.”

In an internal chat from mid-2020, an employee asks: “What are we doing against the grooming of children (something I hear is happening a lot on TikTok)?”. The response she received was “something between zero and virtually no effectiveness.”

A document from 2021 points out that the company had not invested enough to the fight against the sexualization of minors on Instagram. In this network, a big problem was noticed in the comments of the videos published by minors.

The New Mexico prosecutor’s investigation began after a report by The Guardian showed that Meta was unable to detect when their platforms were used for trafficking of minors.

For his part, Meta denies these accusations and assures that “mischaracterizes our work using selective citations and carefully selected documents”.

In a statement, the company said: “We want teens to have safe, age-appropriate online experiences, and we have more than 30 tools to support them and their parents. We have spent a decade working on these issues and hiring people who have dedicated their careers to keeping young people safe and supported online.”