Apple threatened to delete the Facebook and Instagram applications from the App Store due to posts about slavery in the Middle East back in 2019. After Facebook officially said that it “prohibits human exploitation in no uncertain terms,” the Cupertino tech titan reversed its decision. After former Facebook employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen disclosed records to the Securities and Exchange Commission two years ago, the topic has resurfaced (SEC).
Facebook has already said that it was aware of the exploitative conditions of foreign employees and the use of Instagram to buy and trade maids online. According to the docs, the BBC investigation spurred Apple’s threat to delete the applications, citing examples of maid photos and biographic information appearing online.
However, the problem persists on Facebook and Instagram. Engineers were described by Facebook as accessing disturbing communications in the inboxes of maid-recruiting agencies, including one in which a Filipina is specifically referenced as being “sold” by her Kuwaiti employers.
While Facebook banned over 1,000 accounts on its platforms, their analytical papers admitted that the company was aware of a problem with “domestic servitude” as early as 2018. The situation was described as a “kind of human trafficking for the purpose of working within private homes via the use of force, fraud, coercion, or deceit.” Facebook acknowledged that it had just scraped the surface of the issue and that domestic slavery content persisted on the network.