Facebook has been accused by being aware of a sex trafficking network where at least 40 women were brought to the United States. They did little to stop it. 

Trafficker David Williams, Pensacola (Florida), was arrested in August 2019. He was charged with operating a chain massage parlors in Pennsylvania and Virginia. After pleading guilty to the charges in November 2019, Williams was sentenced to three-year imprisonment.

Facebook confirmed it was aware of the trafficking ring in a 2019 internal report where they boasted how it had ‘disrupted’ the criminal network and disabled all 84 pages and 22 accounts associated with it.

However, court documents didn’t mention any Facebook investigation or evidence provided by the tech firm to the FBI or other authorities.

People closely involved with the criminal investigation also told USA Today they had no memory of Facebook involvement or findings in the case.

Frances Haugen, a whistleblower, revealed documents that showed that Facebook’s primary concern about sextrafficking was to ‘prevent reputational risks for the company’

USA TODAY claims that even after Williams’ sentencing USA TODAY was able find at least three spa pages on Facebook associated with the network. This included leading terms such as “full-body sensual Massages” with winking Emojis. 

After being flagged to Facebook, they have been removed. 

David Williams, 42, of Pensacola, Florida, pleaded guilty in November 2019 to sex trafficking, sending women recruited via Facebook to work at massage parlors in Florida, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Facebook was investigating Williams' network, but it is unable to say what information they provided to the police and when. By law, they should have handed over any information about sex trafficking

David Williams, 42 years old, Pensacola (Florida), pleaded guilty to sex trafficking. He used Facebook to recruit women to work in massage parlors across Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. Facebook was looking into Williams’ network, but cannot say what information they provided and when. Any information related to sextrafficking should have been given to them, according to law.

Andy Stone, a Facebook spokesperson, insists that the company provided information about the trafficking network for the police.

Details of Facebook's internal discussions come from whistleblower Frances Haugen, who has appeared before lawmakers in the U.S. and U.K. during recent weeks

Frances Haugen (whistleblower) has provided details of Facebook’s internal conversations to lawmakers in the U.S.A. and U.K. over recent weeks.

Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder and CEO, is under intense pressure following the leak of a series of internal documents

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder and CEO, is under severe pressure after a series of internal documents were leaked.

He was unable to tell us what or when.

And court documents reviewed by USA Today made no mention of Facebook’s assistance, when building the case against Williams.

The FBI had begun investigating Williams and his then-wife, Qun Shen, and found they used multiple Facebook pages and accounts to promote the parlors. 

USA Today reports that they used two marketing agencies – one in India, one in the U.S. to buy Facebook ads containing keywords for potential services.

Shen, who wasn’t charged, claimed she never posted advertisements on Facebook. Williams was already divorced at that time. Shen filed for divorce in September 2017, less than two-years after their marriage. 

Facebook discovered that it targeted women from impoverished parts of the world, including the Philippines.

Agents from the FBI, the IRS, and the Department of Homeland Security identified more than 100 Chinese nationals who had direct ties to Williams. 

Williams trafficked women to work in this massage parlor, 1407 Peninsula, in Erie, Pennsylvania, among other sites. It is believed more than 100 women were brought to the U.S. unwittingly for sex work

Williams used women to get work at the 1407 Peninsula Massage Parlor in Erie (PA), among other locations. More than 100 women were unwittingly brought to the U.S. for sex work, according to reports.

They used what is called a Romeo scheme. This involves a person posting comments on women’s photos and sending friend requests. The chat then escalates to propose marriage and send money if the women visit the U.S.

Facebook investigators stated in the report that they had “actioned” or disabled all 84 pages associated with the network and 22 accounts. 

A report was being created to alert law enforcement to the case and to help them take the necessary actions. 

Facebook has not disclosed when they alerted police to the matter. Questions are being raised about whether Facebook fell foul of a 2018 law which allows internet companies to face civil and criminal prosecutions for failing to stop sex trading on their platforms. 

Stone stated that Stone’s company does not allow human exploitation.

USA Today quoted him as saying that he had been fighting human trafficking on the platform for many years. He also stated that his goal is to stop anyone seeking to exploit others from having a place on our platform.

These are just a few of the many complaints that have been made against Mark Zuckerberg’s business.

The Wall Street Journal exposed Haugen’s leaked files as the basis for a series of exposes. They revealed that executives knew that Instagram was addictive and dangerous to young people and that they valued profits over people.

Facebook has been accused in the past of not being able to crack down on hate speech and actively promoting divisive, harmful content to increase traffic. 

Further documents were released Wednesday showing that Donald Trump’s posts in 2017 triggered a wave o hate-filled calls for violence and messages. However, the social media giant failed to take any action.

They also suggested that Facebook’s automated controls, meant for catching dangerous posts, should have flagged the problem with a Trump-related post warning looters they might get shot.

These revelations, which include the latest from a whistleblower, will put more pressure on Zuckerberg’s firm to take greater responsibility for content posted to its platform.

Experts in social media stated that this showed how the platform has exacerbated trouble, as opposed to Twitter, which quickly posted warnings. 

Facebook, however, defended its position by saying that it often reflected the social context and that the only way to stop complaints spikes was to stop discussions of controversial moments.

On the night of May 28, 2017, reports of violent and hateful posts on Facebook began to flood in, shortly after Trump warned looters on social media.

Three days had passed since Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, knelt on George Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. The 46-year-old African-American man died.  

An internal analysis of Trump’s post on Floyd’s death revealed that hate speech and violence reports increased ‘rapidly” on Facebook.

Trump wrote that “These THUGS disonor the memory of George Floyd” at 9:53 AM on May 28, via his Twitter and Facebook accounts. ‘Any difficulty, we’ll take control. But, when the looting gets started, the shooting begins!

Then President Trump triggered immediate condemnation when he told looters they faced being shot amid protests against the police killing of George Floyd. He posted his messages on Twitter and Facebook. Leaked documents from Facebook reveal how his words triggered a wave of hatred on social media

After telling looters that they were facing being shot during protests against George Floyd’s police killing, President Trump immediately provoked condemnation. He posted his messages to Facebook and Twitter. Facebook documents that were leaked reveal how his words caused a wave of hatred

Shortly after complaining about Twitter putting a warning label over his tweet, the White House's official Twitter account reposted the message verbatim

The official Twitter account of the White House reposted the message verbatim shortly after he complained about Twitter placing a warning label on his tweet. 

The next day he railed against Twitter, saying it needed to be 'regulated' after the site put a warning label on one of his tweets about the Minneapolis riots

The next day, he attacked Twitter and said it needed to be “regulated” after the site placed a warning label on one his tweets about the Minneapolis Riots 

The leaked documents show how Trump's words were believed to have caused a five-fold increase in violence reports on Facebook, and a tripling of complaints of hate speech

The leaked documents show that Trump’s words caused a five-fold rise in violence reports on Facebook and a threefold increase of hate speech complaints

Last year brought a long hot summer of protests and violence. Leaked Facebook documents reveal how hate messages on social media increased after Trump sent a post warning that looters who joined protests following Floyd's death last year would be shot

Last year was a hot summer of violence, protests and demonstrations. Leaked Facebook documents reveal that hate messages on social media grew after Trump posted a warning to looters who participated in protests following Floyd’s passing last year.

Protesters gather in front of a burning fast-food restaurant in Minneapolis on May 29, last year. Reports of hateful and violent speech on Facebook poured in, according to internal documents, after Trump sent inflammatory messages a day earlier

Protesters gathered at a Minneapolis fast-food restaurant to protest the burning of May 29, 2017. Internal documents show that there were numerous reports of hateful and violent speech on Facebook after Trump sent inflamatory messages one day earlier.

Since then, the former president has been removed from Twitter and Facebook. 

Facebook’s internal automated controls, which are meant to catch violating posts, predicted with almost 90% certainty that Trump’s message violated the tech company’s rules against inciting violence.

But, the tech giant didn’t take any action to Trump’s message.  

Offline, protests erupted in nearly every U.S. capital city the next day – some of them violent.

“When people look back at what role Facebook played, they won’t say it caused it, but Facebook was definitely the megaphone,” said Lainer Holt, a communications professor from Ohio State University. 

“I don’t think they can escape the fact that they have exacerbated the situation.

Social media rival Twitter, meanwhile, responded quickly at the time by covering Trump´s tweet with a warning and prohibiting users from sharing it any further.

Facebook’s internal discussions were disclosed in disclosures to the Securities and Exchange Commission and given to Congress in redacted format by Haugen’s Legal Counsel.  

The Wall Street Journal previously reported Trump as one of many high-profile customers, including celebrities and politicians, exempted by some or all the company’s usual enforcement policies.

Another internal critics, however, accused Facebook’s executives of being ‘drunk on power’ in internal messages, after they attempted to block messages of support for Kenosha gunman Kyle Rittenhouse.

Rittenhouse, a right wing vigilante, shot two Black Lives Matter protesters and killed them amid unrest following Jacob Blake’s August 2020 shooting.

Rittenhouse was 17 years old at the time. Some on the right saw him as a hero, insisting that he was there to stop rioting by BLM activists.

Facebook removed many pro Rittenhouse posts, arguing that they were against the site’s rules, which prohibit violence promotion.

Facebook’s rules prohibit praise or support for mass shooters, or mass shootings themselves.

Kyle Rittenhouse, left, was 17 when he shot and killed two people in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 25, 2020. He was part of a vigilante group claiming they were defending property from arson and rioting

Kyle Rittenhouse, left was 17 when he killed two people in Kenosha on August 25, 2020. He was part a vigilante group that claimed they were protecting property against arson and rioting

A protester is seen walking past a burning building on August 24, after the shooting of Jacob Blake

After Jacob Blake’s shooting on August 24, a protester walks past a burning building.

A protester tosses an object toward police during clashes outside the Kenosha County Courthouse on August 25, 2020 - the third night of rioting, and the night of Rittenhouse's shooting

During clashes outside Kenosha County Courthouse on Aug 25, 2020, a protester throws a object at police. This was the third night of rioting and the night Rittenhouse’s shooting.

Rittenhouse has been charged with murder. He is seen on Monday, ahead of his trial, which begins next week

Rittenhouse has been accused of murder. He will be seen on Monday ahead of his trial next week.

Most employees were in agreement with the decision after an internal discussion.

One said that Facebook leaders were taking a too extreme role in censoring people’s beliefs.

The staffer claimed that the rioting was ongoing for more three months, and is only now an issue because people in the company witnessed violence they didn’t like. This information was obtained by The New York Post from internal documents.

“Employees have a monopoly on America’s civic affairs, and they don’t even need to go to the polling booth (if it’s even possible).

Facebook took down posts in support of Rittenhouse, as per their policy on shootings

As per their policy regarding shootings, Facebook removed posts that were in support Rittenhouse.

The employee, a Facebook data scientist, asked whether Facebook was correct in moderating posts in support Rittenhouse, who was 17 at Rittenhouse’s shooting. Rittenhouse is not legally allowed to own the firearms used in the shooting.

“Can we objectively and consistently distinguish between support (not allowed), and discussion of whether? [Rittenhouse]Is it being treated fairly (allowed)? The data scientist wrote.

Try reading his posts to see if you can distinguish between violating and non-violating content.

“I know our company is full smart, dedicated people who want to do right by others.

“But, I don’t think the current system that we are working in allows us to succeed, even though we have the talent, money and motivation that should help us on the right track.

Rittenhouse was charged with murder and will be tried next week. 

A Facebook spokeswoman stated that Facebook has an “industry-leading” policy to address the’militarized movements.