Who’s to Blame?
Facebook Can’t Shake Lawsuits Over Alleged Child-Sex Trafficking on Its Platform
(Angela Morris) These lawsuits are pushing the legal limits of how social media companies like Facebook can be held accountable for sex trafficking that occurs on their platforms.
by Angela Morris, April 29th, 2020
Facebook has actually once again lost its court fight to dismiss claims by three young women who claimed they were sex trafficked on Facebook or Instagram platforms. These claims are pushing the legal limits of how social media companies can be held accountable for sex trafficking that happens on their platforms. In a 2-1 ruling Tuesday, the 14th Court of Appeals affirmed 2 trial judges’ orders that rejected Facebook’s motions to dismiss the claims under the Texas Guidelines of Civil Treatment 91a, which is the Lone Star State’s variation of the federal 12( b)( 6) movement to dismiss for failure to specify a claim. The dissenting justice urged the Texas Supreme Court to use up the cases. Annie McAdamsAnnie McAdams. Courtesy photo The girls’ attorney informed Texas Attorney this is the first time any plaintiffs endured difficulties by Facebook under the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that says that interactive computer system service providers can’t be dealt with as the publishers or speakers of content on their platforms.
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“The Communications Decency Act was never ever intended to protect big tech companies when they purposefully assist in illegal activities,” stated complainants attorney Annie McAdams, who pledged to eliminate all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if required. “We understood when we filed this case it was groundbreaking advancements in the law.” Not immune or immune? The plaintiffs in the suit declared that others sex-trafficked them through the Facebook platforms.
They declared that Facebook understands it has a sex trafficking issue however has done nothing to secure children. Facebook denies the accusations. The business has said that it works with child defence experts, police and other tech companies to “obstruct and remove exploitative images and videos, as well as to prevent grooming online.” Facebook asks users to report prospective human-trafficking material. Facebook tried arguing that it was immune from the claims under that communications law.
The tech giant had argued that being immune indicated the complainants, who were teenagers when they alleged the sex trafficking occurred, had failed to mention a claim upon which relief can be given, and the suits must be tossed from court. The two trial judges presiding over the three teens’ claims declined that argument. The social network’s business appealed, seeking mandamus remedy for the 14th Court. However, the two-justice bulk rejected relief. “Facebook has actually not developed that it is entitled to mandamus relief,” the per curiam bulk opinion said. In a dissenting viewpoint, Justice Tracy Christopher disagreed and composed that the state’s high court needs to have a look at the cases.
The three plaintiffs were asking the 14th Court to analyze the Communications Decency Act in such a way that only a few courts have actually done, she described, including that most of the courts have ruled in favour of Facebook’s arguments. The dissent added that the Communications Decency Act was changed in 2017 to include an exception to resistance.
Nevertheless, she wrote, the exception would not apply in a civil action in a state court. “Federal law grants Facebook immunity from suits such as these,” Christopher wrote. “Due to the fact that Facebook has resistance, these suits have no basis in law, and dismissal under Texas Guideline of Procedure 91a appertains.” Hunton Andrews Kurth partners Scott Brister and Kelly Sandill both declined to comment. No one in the Facebook press office immediately returned an email looking for remark.
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Filed Under: Law, News Tagged With Facebook, litigation, pedophilia, social media, texas lawyer
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