Whistleblowers at Facebook have filed a complaint with the SEC alleging that the company was aware of illegal activity on its platform, yet failed to notify the proper authorities, according to a report in the Washington Post.
According to the report, the illegal activity took place on both Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram, and included the sale of opioids and other drugs, as well as images of child sexual abuse.
The complaint, which was obtained by The Washington Post, includes dozens of pages of screenshots of opioids and other drugs for sale on Facebook and its photo-sharing site Instagram, with some having seemingly obvious tags such as “#buydrugsonline.” It also notes that Facebook has a pattern of taking down content when it is pointed out by media or activists, only to have it reappear later.
In a sworn statement, the whistleblowers, who include former moderators at the tech giant, said that the material for sale on Facebook-owned platforms included child pornography:
“There were groups where pornographic content related to children was auctioned. And they used [Facebook] systems [for] all of it, from what I could see,” the ex-moderator wrote in a sworn statement.
Another whistleblower said that Facebook executives did not take action on the illegal sale of drugs, despite being notified:
“Facebook executives were made aware the scale of counterfeit OxyContin being sold across their platforms was enormous. But while other tech firms and the pharmaceutical industry invested heavily in resources to mitigate the damage of illegal narcotic sales online killing tens of thousands of Americans, Facebook executives aggressively lobbied other social media platforms including Twitter not to take action or to engage in the counterfeit OxyContin removal initiative,” the statement says.
The complaint aims to prove that by concealing illegal activity from both shareholders and the authorities, Facebook violated its fiduciary duty to investors.
A Facebook spokesman told the Post that the company has “regularly disclosed potential risks related to content in our SEC filings, including at least four times in the last year.”
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Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.