Likely the most popular app in Facebook’s app family, Instagram over the years has helped countless businesses flourish and make their online presence felt. However, as per BBC, the app also hosts an online slave market where humans and are bought and sold.
BBC News Arabic recently conducted an investigation in which they found that several platforms, including the photo-sharing app, host accounts that illegally promote human trafficking.
BBC detailed that this market is booming mainly in Kuwait. BBC further added that pictures of slaves for sale were posted on multiple accounts labeled and categorized by their race. Besides their race, the pictures also entailed the price (in dollars) at which slaves can be purchased.
Moreover, the pictures were being promoted on the platform under various hashtags in the Arabic language. Hashtags like ‘خادمات للتنازل#/#maidsfortransfer’ were being used to boost the reach of these posts.
Besides Instagram, BBC also noticed trafficking activities being conducted on various apps on Apple and Google’s app stores. One of these apps was 4Sale, an app that listed a ‘domestic workers’ category on its website/app and allowed buying slaves by customizing the results on the basis of race and price.
Post the revelation by BBC, Facebook took actions and said it has removed as many as 703 accounts suspected to be promoting human trafficking. Facebook added that it has also removed the aforementioned hashtag from its child app Instagram. Apple and Google have also said they are looking into preventing the issue.
This is notably not the first time social media platforms have been caught hosting illegal accounts. Earlier, several Snapchat and Instagram accounts were removed for promoting and selling of illegal guns in the US.