Mankind will forever be thankful to you for making social networking so ridiculously easy and accessible for everyone on the planet. I am an addict myself, and I strongly believe in the power of social media in facilitating all its users to become socially aware citizens. But then this letter is a reminder, to remind you that with great powers come great responsibilities. And those, you cannot, cannot pretend to turn blind on.
I’m not sure if the recent developments regarding the arrest of the admins of a paedophilic page has reached you. It is probably not the only one in history, but what makes this arrest unique is your involvement in it. To say that you were not aware of it would be wrong, because by all means, the page was reported several times by several people and the news had reached you, I have no idea to which hierarchy level though. I understand that the page did not breach your “policy” that time, but now that they are arrested, you do see that they were essentially what we had reported them to be. I hope you want to seek redemption now. And by redemption, I suggest that you decide to make significant changes to your policy to keep your hands clean at least in the years to come.
Probably you have never thought of it this way, but then they used you, you to hold pictures of innocent kids, most of them below 10, and then make them available to customers who came through the page. Do you realize that you could have saved a lot of innocent lives had you decided to take prompt actions when the page was repeatedly reported? You said it did not contain nudity, and most of the comments were in Indian languages which must have looked Greek and Latin to you. But let’s have a word, adult to adult, the admins were smart enough to know that you would take it down if they included nudity, so they played the game well enough and you fell for it. You bought them, because you did not realize what they were doing. But since you know that this is where you fall short, make amends to fill it up.
I understand that setting up reviewers for every regional language is essentially a time consuming task and setting up teams would essentially need funding. But I do not and cannot take it if you tell me if its not possible. It is possible, Zuckerberg, you have travelled to a hell lot of places in India and have taken the pain to make us believe that your idea of internet.org was for us. So,deep down, you do want to do something for us, right? Here’s your big chance. It should make you feel immensely proud to have that kind of a unique power, to be able to save a lot of lives from being forced into prostitution and rape. Had you decided to atleast tie up with the local police in helping review those when you still had the time and chance, a lot of man missing complaints would have been solved. A lot of children would have atleast been spared at least a few months of verbal and physical torture had you wanted to do something about it.
I know that there are other ways the perpetrators could have done it on the world wide web. And they would still have been pimps even if the operations weren’t through Facebook. I know they can get their own websites. I know they could have gone to some other social networking website. While there are a spectrum of places to which they could have gone, they chose you. Facebook because that is where the entire civilization is active these days. And Facebook because of its sheer lack of sophistication. Anyone can manage a page and create fake accounts and manage businesses with your tool. And Facebook because you don’t even have to search for it in the world wide web, the pages would just stumble up on you. And Facebook because of its credibility and accountability. And last,but not the least, I do not want to say this, yet Facebook because they know your review policies. They know they are safe.
You, all of you at Facebook, I believe, are adults enough to understand that verbal violence and attacks, including defaming and derogatory remarks are as much abusive as nudity or pornography. You need to take control, take charge of what you host and feed.
You should be proud of what you created. My life has been a lot easier because Facebook existed. I myself am an obsessive compulsive Facebook user. But this is the time, when you decide not let us down anymore with your policies.Get a review team in place, get help from local police and judiciary whenever the situation demands, but make a decision to make yourself free of explicit trafficking pages and profiles. Make amends, NOW.