Apple nearly dropped Facebook app over maid slave trade

From Jon Gambrell and Jim Gomez’ “Apple once threatened Facebook ban over Mideast maid abuse” posted Tuesday on AP News:

Two years ago, Apple threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram from its app store over concerns about the platform being used as a tool to trade and sell maids in the Mideast.

After publicly promising to crack down, Facebook acknowledged in internal documents obtained by The Associated Press that it was “under-enforcing on confirmed abusive activity” that saw Filipina maids complaining on the social media site of being abused. Apple relented and Facebook and Instagram remained in the app store.

But Facebook’s crackdown seems to have had a limited effect. Even today, a quick search for “khadima,” or “maids” in Arabic, will bring up accounts featuring posed photographs of Africans and South Asians with ages and prices listed next to their images. That’s even as the Philippines government has a team of workers that do nothing but scour Facebook posts each day to try and protect desperate job seekers from criminal gangs and unscrupulous recruiters using the site…

“In our investigation, domestic workers frequently complained to their recruitment agencies of being locked in their homes, starved, forced to extend their contracts indefinitely, unpaid, and repeatedly sold to other employers without their consent,” one Facebook document read. “In response, agencies commonly told them to be more agreeable.”

The report added: “We also found recruitment agencies dismissing more serious crimes, such as physical or sexual assault, rather than helping domestic workers…”

In the documents seen by the AP, Facebook acknowledges being aware of both the exploitive conditions of foreign workers and the use of Instagram to buy and trade maids online even before a 2019 report by the BBC’s Arabic service on the practice in the Mideast. That BBC report sparked the threat by Cupertino, California-based Apple to remove the apps, citing examples of pictures of maids and their biographic details showing up online, according to the documents.

My take: Think how much better off everybody would have been if Apple had made good its threat.

7 Comments

  1. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. My take: Think how much better off everybody would have been if Apple had made good its threat.” — Why didn’t they?

    6
    October 26, 2021
  2. Gary Gouriluk said:
    Facebook seems to be the heroin of apps. Easy for those who are not addicted to dismiss but those who are will never give it up.
    Like heroin, Facebook seems essentially harmless to those who do not use it, except for the effects of the moral degradation on some of those who do. And for that we tend to blame the victim.
    So is the solution “a war on drugs” or “legalization with complete regulation “?

    2
    October 26, 2021
  3. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Having a “won’t allow” policy is far from a “war”.

    Or better yet, how about a “should’ve known better” policy in the first place?

    1
    October 26, 2021
  4. We keep driving our mostly empty fuel-inefficient SUV’s and pickups way over the speed limit, consuming even more of the product these Mideast slavers sell us. Blissfully unaware imported natural gas, used for power plants, also charges the few EV’s (as a % of all cars sold/driven) on the road today. As a nation we were afraid to even confront those that murdered a Washington Post journalist. That part of the world flaunts how they have so-called Western powers wrapped around their finger, reducing oil output right when people get back to driving again. OPEC+ is an admitted cartel, strangling their best customers by limiting output while EU and American regulators can only visualize chimeras in smartphone app stores. North & South America have sufficient oil & gas but we continue to export, allowing OPEC+ to raise our energy prices anyway. The largest refinery in the US is even owned by the Saudis, imagine that!

    5
    October 26, 2021

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