Facebook’s public image has taken a major hit after a data breach in late September exposed the private information of upwards of 50 million users. The hack was the largest in the company’s history.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the social media giant is now being sued for its alleged part in the forced prostitution of a Texas woman, according to Reuters.
The woman, identified as Jane Doe, was originally contacted on Facebook in 2012 by someone who appeared to be a friend of a friend. At the time of contact, she was 16 years old.
The man eventually gained the teen’s trust and picked her up at the girl’s home while she was fighting with her mother. Things quickly fell apart.
She was beaten, raped, and pictures taken of her were posted online, the lawsuit charges, according to Reuters.
The website the pictures were posted to, Backpage, was shut down in April after a Department of Justice investigation. Complaints identified the website as a haven for sex traffickers and prostitutes.
Along with Facebook, Jane Doe is also suing Backpage and its founders.
For the social media giant, this lawsuit could not have come at a worse time.
Facebook has been struggling to gain back user trust after the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal. The suit now threatens to link the company’s brand with sex trafficking, something sure to throw a wrench in whatever plan its PR team has to improve Facebook’s profile.
Users are already beginning to leave, with polls showing an overall trend away from Facebook.
And why wouldn’t they be?
With recent revelations showing just how bad the reported data breach is, rampant political bias problems, and now a lawsuit alleging sex trafficking, many are feeling more and more distant from the platform.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg even went to Washington to address lawmaker concerns about his website.
Zuckerberg’s discomforting mannerisms and responses during the meeting fueled memes that did nothing to rebuild public trust in him or his company.
— ComicBook NOW! (@ComicBookNOW) April 14, 2018
This latest lawsuit is another headache in an already tough year for Facebook. If the company keeps losing public trust like this, it might end up like the once-dominant MySpace.