Apple reportedly threatened to boot Facebook from the App Store over human trafficking concerns

Apple threatened to remove Facebook's App Store following a report on an online slave market.
In 2019, the BBC reported that human traffickers used Facebook's services for selling domestic workers.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook knew of the practice before Apple issued its threat.

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Apple threatened to remove Facebook from its App Store following a BBC 2019 report that detailed how human traffickers used Facebook to sell victims. According to The Wall Street Journal

The newspaper reviewed company documents showing that a Facebook investigation team was pursuing a Middle East human trafficking market whose organizers were using Facebook’s services. According to the Journal, what appeared to be employment agencies advertised domestic workers they could supply at their own discretion.

The BBC conducted an extensive undercover investigation into the practice. Apple threatened to remove Facebook from its stores, the paper stated.

An internal memo revealed that Facebook knew about the practice long before that: A Facebook researcher wrote in an article dated 2019 "was this issue known by Facebook before BBC inquiry, and Apple escalation?" per the Journal.

The question is answered "Yes." We conducted the global Understanding Exercise throughout 2018 and H1 2019, in order to understand how domestic servitude manifests itself across our platform's entire life cycle: recruitment and facilitation.

Apple and Facebook didn't immediately respond to our requests for comment.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that Facebook's artificial intelligence content moderators could not detect many languages on the platform. This is a critical skill if Facebook wants to monitor content in new markets.

The paper revealed that human moderators are not able to communicate in the languages of these markets. This leaves a gap in the company’s efforts to combat harmful content.

According to The Journal, one result was that drug cartels as well as human traffickers used the platform for their business.

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