On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that human trafficking victims can proceed with their lawsuits against Facebook. The social media giant was relying on Section 230 from the Communications Decency Act to block these lawsuits, saying that as a publisher, they aren’t legally responsible for the messages and comments of their users.
But, in a landmark ruling, the Texas Supreme Court has ruled in the plaintiffs’ favor, saying that Facebook can be held liable if found to have been knowingly participating in the evil of human trafficking.
“This latest decision by the Texas Supreme Court is a strong step in the right direction towards giving victims of human trafficking some justice and incentivizing a long-needed sea change in social media companies’ behavior,” says Marc Berkman, CEO of the Organization for Social Media Safety, a national nonprofit dedicated to making social media safe for everyone through education, advocacy, and tech.
Berkman, an attorney who has over a decade of experience in public policy and management serving as a senior advisor to members of Congress and the California State Assembly, has also developed numerous legislative initiatives as a legislative aide, including Jordan’s Law. He can comment expertly on this breaking Supreme Court ruling and illuminate why this decision should matter to everyone who uses Facebook or any social media site.
“This case should also serve as a reminder to parents and educators everywhere that most human traffickers are actively using social media to perpetrate their heinous crimes. In fact, one study has determined that 83% of human trafficking cases involve social media. We are very troubled that social media companies are aware of this trend yet many have failed to successfully respond to it.”
Berkman says that the Organization for Social Media Safety strongly believes that responsible interventions made by the social media industry could root out human traffickers operating on their platforms and save countless young women.
Marc Berkman, CEO of the Organization for Social Media Safety
Marc Berkman is an attorney and the CEO of the Organization for Social Media Safety, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works to make social media safe through advocacy, education, and technology development. As a long-time senior legislative staffer in Congress and California, Marc has worked to develop and pass major legislative initiatives to protect children, like Jordan’s Law, the nation’s first law to deter social media-motivated violence.