Facebook under fire for not stopping sale of child bride

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Facebook is under fire from international human rights organizations for not stopping the sale of a 16-year-old child bride on its site that started at the end of October.

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An auction was held on the social media giant for the marriage of a 16-year-old girl in South Sudan on Nov. 3. The winner reportedly gave the girl’s father 500 cows, three cars and $10,000 in exchange for his daughter, according to Plan International, a children’s rights organization.

A spokesperson for Facebook said in a statement to FOX Business that the company removed the post as soon as it learned about it on Nov. 9 – but that wasn’t until after the auction had taken place more than a week prior.

“Any form of human trafficking - whether posts, pages, ads or groups is not allowed on Facebook,” the spokesperson said. “We removed the post and permanently disabled the account belonging to the person who posted this to Facebook.”

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Facebook has a community operations team that reviews reported posts in more than 50 different languages, but the spokesperson declined to comment on why it took almost a week for this particular post to be removed, or whether the company would change its policies going forward.

“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.

But Plan International lambasted Facebook in a statement for the “barbaric use of technology” that it said was “reminiscent of latter-day slave markets.”

“That a girl could be sold for marriage on the world’s biggest social networking site in this day and age is beyond belief,” said George Otim, the director of Plan International South Sudan.

Equality Now, a non-governmental organization that advocates for women’s rights, also warned this incident could create a dangerous precedent in which other families try to use social media sites to get better dowries for their daughters.

More than 41,000 girls will be married off each day before they turn 18 in countries across the world, according to the group. It affects 15 million girls each year.

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