Apple Forces Facebook to Dismantle Saudi Arabian Slave Markets on its Platform


Apple threatened to pull Facebook’s apps from the App Store in 2019 after the BBC  discovered domestic “slaves” for sale on applications such as Instagram.

The threat was first reported in the Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) Facebook Files, a series of publications based on the publication’s examination of internal Facebook papers.

Facebook states unequivocally that it forbids human exploitation.
It claims to have been “combating human trafficking for many years on our platform.”

“Our objective continues to prevent anyone seeking to exploit others from finding a home on our platform,” the business stated.

BBC Arabic’s research uncovered a thriving online black market for the unlawful purchase and sale of domestic employees.

It threw light on a society in which women were subjected to servitude and confined behind locked doors, without fundamental rights, unable to escape and at risk of being sold to the highest bidder. According to experts, these situations amounted to slavery.

The trade was conducted using a variety of applications, including Instagram, which is controlled by Facebook.
Additionally, the story cited a 2019 internal Facebook analysis, which indicated that the social media giant was aware of and researching the online slave trade prior to the BBC’s contact.

“Was this problem known to Facebook prior to the BBC investigation and Apple escalation?” a Facebook researcher writes in the study.

“Yes. We performed the worldwide Understanding Exercise during 2018 and the early half of 2019 to get a comprehensive understanding of how domestic slavery emerges on our platform across its entire life cycle: recruitment, facilitation, and exploitation.”

The majority of sales posts and hashtags were in Arabic and posted by individuals in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Women were frequently classified according to race and were available for purchase for a few thousand dollars.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple instructed Facebook to do more to combat human trafficking following the BBC investigation, monitored by scoopgh.

According to the report, the social media giant took “limited action” only after “Apple Inc. threatened to pull Facebook’s goods from the App Store unless it clamped down on the practice.”

Following concerns expressed by the BBC and Apple in 2019, the WSJ reported that Facebook “began acting quicker.”

It said that a “proactive scan” for human trafficking “discovered over 300,000 potential breaches and deactivated over 1,000 accounts.”

Additionally, the BBC story triggered inquiries from the United Nations.

Facebook responded in June 2020, writing: “Following an investigation sparked by a BBC inquiry, we performed a proactive assessment of our platform.” Within 24 hours, we deleted 700 Instagram accounts and banned many infringing hashtags.”

The following month, the firm announced that it had deleted over 130,000 pieces of Arabic-language spoken content relating to domestic slavery from Instagram and Facebook.

Additionally, it stated that it has created technology capable of proactively identifying and removing domestic servitude-related information, enabling it to “delete approximately 4,000 pieces of infringing organic content in Arabic and English from January 2020 to date.”