Apple Executive’s Concerns Expose Facebook’s Breeding Ground for Child Predators, Lawsuit Alleges

New York – A newly unredacted complaint in a lawsuit against Meta, brought by New Mexico’s Attorney General in December, has revealed that an Apple executive informed Meta in 2020 that their 12-year-old child had been approached on Facebook. The lawsuit accuses Meta, formerly known as Facebook, of creating an environment that is conducive to child predators. The complaint, citing internal documents, highlights this incident as part of a longstanding concern about young users’ exposure to inappropriate content on the platform. It also alleges that at least one Meta employee raised worries internally that the incident could lead to Facebook being removed from the Apple App Store, which could be a major blow for the company. Meta’s apps, however, still remain available on the store.

The new, unredacted complaint contains several other anecdotes that support the claims of the attorney general. According to the complaint, Meta employees have repeatedly expressed alarm that the company is not doing enough to protect young users from exploitation. In response, Meta pushed back and stated that they have tools and measures in place to support teenagers and their parents, and that they continue to work on these issues.

The complaint further alleges that Meta has long been aware of the challenges in detecting underage users who misrepresent their ages on its platforms. The company reportedly formed an “Underage Enforcement War Room” to address the growing number of accounts belonging to children who registered as older users. Another lawsuit filed by 33 states last year also accused Meta of refusing to shut down the majority of accounts belonging to children under the age of 13 and collecting their personal information without parental consent.

In a 2019 internal document mentioned in the updated complaint, Meta identified recruitment and exploitation as common practices on its platforms, with traffickers using romance and messenger services to coordinate their activities. The complaint also reveals a 2021 internal presentation in which Meta estimated that 100,000 children receive daily sexual harassment, including explicit images.

Meta has responded to the allegations by stating that they have introduced technology to proactively detect and disable accounts displaying suspicious behaviors. They have also formed a Child Safety Task Force to improve their policies and practices regarding youth safety. The company points to its 30 safety and well-being tools that support teens and families, including screen-time limits and the ability to remove “like” counts from posts.

However, New Mexico’s Attorney General Raúl Torrez has argued that Meta needs to do more to safeguard children and teenagers. Torrez emphasized the importance of parents knowing the full extent of the risks children face while using Meta’s platforms. According to Torrez, Meta employees have been trying to raise concerns about decisions made by company executives that expose children to solicitation and sexual exploitation.

Overall, the newly unredacted complaint raises serious allegations against Meta, adding to the growing scrutiny of the company’s practices and its role in protecting young users on its platform.