Facebook has come under fire for failing to notice the sale of a child bride on its site for 15 days after the post originally went live.
An auction was held on the social media platform for a 16-year-old girl in South Sudan which sought payment for her hand in marriage.
Facebook said the post was taken down as soon as the company learned of it, but that wasn’t until after the girl was married, repots 9 news.
The girl was bid on by five men, some of whom were high-ranking South Sudanese government officials, according to children’s rights organisation Plan International.
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Activists are concerned that this auction — for which the father reportedly received 500 cows, three cars and $13,000 in exchange for his daughter — could inspire other families to use social media sites to receive larger payments.
“That a girl could be sold for marriage on the world’s biggest social networking site in this day and age is beyond belief,” Plan International’s country director in South Sudan, George Otim, said.
“This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets.”
Facebook told CNN that its platform was used for the bidding, which started on October 25, and that it removed the post on November 9 — 15 days later.
“Any form of human trafficking — whether posts, pages, ads or groups is not allowed on Facebook. We removed the post and permanently disabled the account belonging to the person who posted this to Facebook,” a company spokesperson said in a statement.
“We’re always improving the methods we use to identify content that breaks our policies, including doubling our safety and security team to more than 30,000 and investing in technology,” the spokesperson added.
The marriage reportedly took place on November 3, 2018, according to locals.
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