Facebook backs Senate sex trafficking bill

Facebook backs Senate sex trafficking bill
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Facebook has come out in support of a Senate sex trafficking bill that many internet platforms worry could hurt their business models.

In a post on Tuesday night, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg applauded the revisions made last week to the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act.

“This important piece of legislation allows platforms to fight sex trafficking while giving victims the chance to seek justice against companies that don’t,” Sandberg wrote.

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“As this moves through the Senate and the House, we’re here to support it — and to make sure that the internet becomes a safer place for all vulnerable girls, children, women, and men who deserve to be protected.”

The bill would cut into the legal protection that internet platforms enjoy under the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which holds that websites can’t be held liable for content posted by third-party users.

It would also give victims and prosecutors the opportunity to take sites to court for helping to facilitate sex trafficking.

Many tech companies are concerned that cutting into their legal protections will undermine their business models while making it harder to actually fight online sex trafficking.

Last week, the Internet Association, which represents tech giants like Twitter, Facebook and Google, announced its support for the bill after its authors announced some technical changes to the language. The reversal came after the three companies spent two days being grilled by lawmakers over Russia’s use of the platforms to spread disinformation during the 2016 presidential race.