Nearly a month ago, a post on Facebook advertising a teenage girl for marriage went viral in South Sudan. Several men engaged in a bidding war over a 16-year-old girl. The post circulated online for two weeks before Facebook finally came to its senses and took it down.
However, the social media giant was too late to take the necessary steps, and by the time Facebook removed the post, the girl was already purchased by a wealthy businessman to be his wife.
According to reports, the girl was bid on by five men, including some high-ranking South Sudanese government officials. Apparently, the bride’s father received 500 cows, three cars and $10,000 in exchange for his daughter.
So now activists in Sudan are concerned that this auction could inspire other families to use social media sites to sell daughters in hopes of winning larger payments.
Plan International’s country director in South Sudan, George Otim, said: “This barbaric use of technology is reminiscent of latter-day slave markets.”
Amidst all of this, the terrifying part is Facebook’s late action on such incident. And this is merely one example of how Facebook has been misused in developing countries in recent years.
In Myanmar, ethnic violence spread by racists on Facebook led to the death of thousands and forced over 700,000 members of the Rohingya community to flee the land.
In Libya, rival militias use Facebook to spread fake news and hate-filled messages to increase the violence in the country. Now, the platform is being used by people win big dowries by selling an underaged girl.