New Complaint Shows Zuckerberg Ignored Warnings on Child Safety “For Months”
“These documents and Arturo Bejar’s testimony reflect a shocking and willful personal disregard for child safety at the highest levels of Meta”
8 November 2023 — The Real Facebook Oversight Board today responded to new details in one of the eight state lawsuits brought against Meta, concurrent with the 42 state Attorneys General filing last month. The filing shows that Nick Clegg (and others) repeatedly raised flags inside Meta that the company was underinvesting in teen well-being areas. “Zuckerberg ignored Clegg’s request for months.”
The filing — Superior Court Civil Action №2384CV in Massachusetts — shows repeated attempts by leadership across Meta and Instagram to address grave child safety concerns: Adam Mosseri: “We’ve been talking about this for a long time but have made little progress.” A Meta VP: “We got 0 new well-being funding for 2022” Nick Clegg tried to follow up with Zuckerberg with a scaled-back request that was denied by CFO Li.
The filings’ bottom line: Zuckerberg personally ignored pleas to address child safety. Revealed the same day that Meta whistleblower Arturo Bejar testified before Congress about Instagram’s failure to protect young people from sexual exploitation and harassment, these documents show repeated, urgent warnings went unheeded.
“These documents and Bejar’s testimony reflect a shocking and willful personal disregard for child safety at the highest levels of Meta,” said Zamaan Qureshi, Policy Advisor for The Real Facebook Oversight Board. “The Massachusetts filing is ‘the smoking gun,’ — the document that shows what Zuck knew and when he knew it. Taken together with Arturo Bejar’s courageous testimony, federal regulators, Congress, Meta shareholders and even Meta’s up-until-now irrelevant Oversight Board must act.”
These documents came after a day of emotional testimony before a Senate subcommittee focused on repeated, increasingly desperate efforts to get Meta and Instagram leadership to address sexual advances on young people. One key point: Bejar says Instagram is aware that unwanted sexual advances directed at minors are a major category of abuse, but that the company doesn’t have a dedicated flagging mechanism — still.
“When staff at all levels are begging for help to stop sexual abuse online and the company’s response is to ignore, obfuscate or simply make it harder for young people to report sexual advances, as Meta seems to have done, something is irrevocably broken,” Qureshi added. “This kind of moral and practical leadership failure won’t fix itself. Only regulation, external independent oversight, litigation, legislation and, if necessary, prosecution can reform an institution that turns a blind eye for months to the most disgusting imaginable abuse and content.”
Real Facebook Oversight Board members are available for interviews. Statements do not reflect the individual positions of all Real Facebook Oversight Board Members. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Real Facebook Oversight Board is an emergency response to the ongoing harms on Facebook’s platforms from leading global scholars, experts and advocates