Hypocrisy? Musk Calls Out Disney Over ‘Child Trafficking’ Allegations

December 8th, 2023 3:48 PM

Facebook and Instagram are under legal scrutiny stemming from a lawsuit filed by New Mexico, accusing the companies of inexplicably facilitating “prime locations” of child sex abuse content—and X (formerly Twitter) owner Elon Musk is blasting the inexplicable silence from advertising companies that have boycotted ads on X over accusations of anti-Semitism.

The disturbing allegations, brought forth by New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez, accused the Mark Zuckerberg-owned social media platforms of turning a blind eye to the spread of sexual content involving sexual “coercion” of children, through “prostitution” and/or the “sale of [Child Sexual Abuse Material].” Specifically, the attorney general’s office alleged that Facebook and Instagram “served” streams of “sexually explicit images” to children and reportedly “enabled” adults to “find, message, and groom minors, soliciting them to sell pictures or participate in pornographic videos.”

Musk pressed Disney CEO Bob Iger on whether Disney would pull ads from the Meta-owned platforms. Notably, Iger in recent weeks pulled ads from X over dubious accusations that Musk’s platform placed ads near or next to racist and anti-semitic content. "Why no advertiser boycott, Bob Iger [sic]? You are endorsing this material!" Musk wrote in a fired-up X post. In a follow-up post, Musk added, “[W]hy do their Chief Marketing Officers endorse child trafficking!? Let’s ask them.”

Musk’s criticism came in response to Disney’s decision to pull ads from X after the release of a dubious report accusing the platform of placing ads near or next to alleged anti-Semitic or racist posts. Musk then took legal action. 

Seemingly without questioning the evidence, notable companies such as Apple and Disney quickly pulled ads. However, neither company has yet decided to take similar action following the new accusations from the New Mexico attorney general. New Mexico prosecutors led an undercover investigation and reportedly found evidence that accuses Facebook of recommending children to join “unmoderated” groups devoted to promoting commercial sex. Reportedly, the embattled social media platforms inexplicably allowed a fictional mother to “offer” her 13-year-old daughter for sale, Torrez said in a Thursday press release.

“Mr. Zuckerberg and other Meta executives are aware of the serious harm their products can pose to young users, and yet they have failed to make sufficient changes to their platforms that would prevent the sexual exploitation of children,” Torrez declared.  “Despite repeated assurances to Congress and the public that they can be trusted to police themselves, it is clear that Meta’s executives continue to prioritize engagement and ad revenue over the safety of the most vulnerable members of our society.”

Amid the scathing accusations, a spokesperson for Facebook’s and Instagram’s parent company Meta attempted to save face by claiming it deploys so-called “sophisticated technology” to root out potential perpetrators. “Child exploitation is a horrific crime and online predators are determined criminals,” the spokesperson claimed, according to CNBC.

Read the 228-page complaint from the New Mexico Attorney General here

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