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Apple threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram apps over slavery posts

Facebook and Instagram's response to human trafficking proved so lax at one point that Apple outright threatened to remove them from the App Store.

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One would think that Facebook and Instagram would have a policy in place over human trafficking and exploitation. However, at one point, any policy's enforcement proved too unsatisfactory to Apple. When Apple found that Facebook and Instagram were being used to traffic maids from the Middle East, the tech giant threatened to pull the apps from the App Store.

The reports first surfaced on the BBC in late September, but have picked up steam once again from the Associated Press in recent days. The initial issue, according to AP findings in the Facebook Papers, was that Facebook was "under-enforcing on confirmed abusive activity." Facebook appeared to acknowledge its insufficient response, quelling any tension with Apple.

However, the AP has also observed that not a lot has changed. Searching for "khadima" or "maids" in Arabic will result in images with African or South Asian maids with ages and prices listed next to them.

"In our investigation, domestic workers frequently complained to their recruitment agencies of being locked in their homes, starved, forced to extend their contracts indefinitely, unpaid, and repeatedly sold to other employers without their consent," read one Facebook document. "In response, agencies commonly told them to be more agreeable."

Apple has not commented on the latest turn in this matter or on recent findings in the Facebook Papers. Meanwhile, the BBC report from late September noted that Google was "deeply troubled" by these findings and is expecting "immediate corrective actions." We'll continue to follow this story and return with any breaking updates.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

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