All you Facebook child picture-posting attention whores are leaving money on the digital table. Who knew, but a photo or two of a (Nigerian) daughter can be worth $10,000, 3 Land Cruisers, and some cows.
OBANLIKU, Nigeria—Monica, 16, is one of two sisters sold as wives to men who found their photographs on their father’s Facebook page and contacted him. She and her 14-year-old younger sister never wanted to get married until they completed their secondary education in Ogbakoko, a small village in Obanliku Local Government Area in Nigeria’s south-central Cross River state. But the teenage sisters fell victims to a culture which subjects little girls, some as young as 10, to de facto slavery through a tradition called “money marriage.”
The sisters belong to the Becheve community, a large tribe of 17 villages in Obanliku where there is a long tradition in which young girls—often referred to as “money women” or “money wives”—are sold in exchange for food or livestock or cash, or to settle debts.
Spokespeople for Facebook, when contacted by The Daily Beast, were not familiar with the phenomenon as practiced in the Becheve community.
In other cultures where brides have been auctioned online, measures have been taken to stop the transactions.
Reports of Facebook being used as a tool to facilitate child marriage aren’t unique to Nigeria. Last November, the social media platform came under fire after posts discussing the sale of a 16-year-old girl in South Sudan. The victim was married in the process after her father, in exchange for his daughter, received 530 cows, three Land Cruiser V8 cars and $10,000. The teenager reportedly was bid on by five men, including senior officials in the South Sudanese government.
Best of all, with Farcebook serving as the broker, there’s no need for annoying calls or emails from “the Prince.”
I, for one, am deeply ashamed of Suckerberg for taking the ad down once it was brought to his people’s attention. That was a slap in the face to an age-old vibrant and diverse cultural tradition. Think of the tasty ethnic food. They could use this in Nashville.
Elsewhere, the Brits are crafting some of Zuckerborg’s regulations:
In a joint foreword, the home secretary, Sajid Javid, and the secretary of state for culture, media and sport, Jeremy Wright, say it is time to move beyond self-regulation and set clear standards, backed up by enforcement powers.
Companies will be asked to comply with a code of practice, setting out what steps they are taking to ensure that they meet the duty of care – including by designing products and platforms to make them safer, and pointing users who have suffered harm towards support.
The code of practice is also likely to include the steps companies will be expected to take to combat disinformation, including by using fact-checking services, particularly during election periods, and improving the transparency of political advertising.
Regulated firms will be expected to comply with the code of practice – or explain what other steps they are taking to meet the duty of care. However, many questions are left to the regulator to determine.
Theresa May has repeatedly raised the issue of online harm, and the government has gradually shifted its position, from favouring voluntary self-regulation to backing tougher enforcement.
This won’t bother Zuck. It won’t harm any backward future “refugees” and proposition “citizens.” It will be aimed at you. Censorship, taxes, maybe a social media user’s license – all possible. Then, sometime after they discover all the pictures you weren’t paid to post, your children may sue you for violating their privacy.
Delete your Facebook accounts today.