Human rights activists are questioning Facebook’s content moderation after the auction of a child bride was promoted on the platform.
On October 25th, the girl’s family published a post about the sale of the child. Various human right groups flagged the post and tried to get Facebook to remove it; however, it was not noticed by Facebook until two weeks later. Once the initial post was removed, other posts “glorifying” the auction still remained, according to George Otim, country director for Plan International South Sudan.
Despite various appeals made by human rights group, a 16 year old girl child became a victim to an online marriage auction post, which was not taken down by Facebook in South Sudan. Sinking part is that people are now opting for social media for fulfilling orthodox rituals. pic.twitter.com/tj4cMADeFN
— H4Human (@h4humanrights) November 20, 2018
Facebook removed the post, but ultimately, their action was too late. The 16-year-old South Sudanese girl was already “awarded” to a multimillionaire businessman after he offered 530 cows, three Land Cruiser V8 cars and $10,000 to the girl’s father.
In response to the controversy, Facebook stated:
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. We’re always improving the methods we use to identify content that breaks our policies, including doubling our safety and security team to more than 30,000 and investing in technology.
Many are concerned that Facebook does not have enough content reviewers in proportion to the huge number of users that it has worldwide. Additionally, Facebook admitted that they do not have reviewers for all the languages represented on the platform, which would make it difficult to catch inappropriate content in areas such as South Sudan that have many indigenous languages. However, it is unclear whether Facebook is taking any decisive action to improve in these areas.