Mar 27, 2019

Women sue Salesforce for negligence claims tied to trafficking

Photo: Gary Hershorn/Getty Images

A group of women sued Salesforce this week on the grounds that the company allegedly worked with Backpage.com, a classified ad site whose founders were indicted last year on charges of facilitating prostitution.

Why it matters: There's been lots of talk about what the liability is for platforms that facilitate trafficking and other crimes. This is a different kind of case because Salesforce isn't a platform itself, but a vendor.

Details: The plaintiffs in the case, filed in California state court, are making negligence, trafficking and conspiracy claims against the enterprise software giant, citing services Salesforce allegedly provided to Backpage.

  • “In public, including on Twitter, Salesforce boasted about fighting human trafficking using its data tools,” the lawsuit says. “But behind close doors, Salesforce’s data tools were actually providing the backbone of Backpage’s exponential growth.”
  • The suit was filed on behalf of 50 anonymous women who, the suit alleges, were "sexually exploited through the use of Backpage.”

What they're saying: "We are deeply committed to the ethical and humane use of our products and take these allegations seriously; however we don’t comment on pending litigation," said Salesforce in a statement.

Go deeper

Ivanka Trump plans focus on coronavirus recovery for small businesses

Ivanka Trump speaks at yesterday's White House videoconference with bank and credit card executives. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Ivanka Trump personally lobbied top bank executives to line up the $1.5 billion in commitments to small business that were announced yesterday at a videoconference among the bank executives and President Trump — stoking competitive juices among the execs to drive up their commitments.

The state of play: Ivanka, who has had workforce development in her portfolio going back to 2017, plans an increasing emphasis on small businesses in the weeks ahead as they navigate the rescue bill’s Payroll Protection Program, sources tell me.

Public transit's death spiral

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won't bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.

Why it matters: Transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of as much as $38 billion due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to TransitCenter. At the same time, they're more important than ever, with more than 36% of essential workers relying on public transportation to get to work.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: London mayor says U.K. nowhere near lockdown lifting

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern offered hope in the fight against the novel coronavirus, saying she believes New Zealand has "turned a corner" after two weeks of strict lockdown measures. But London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said the U.K. is "nowhere near" lifting restrictions.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed over 82,000 people and infected 1.4 million others globally as of early Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data. Global recoveries have surpassed 301,000. Spain has reported the most cases outside the U.S. (more than 141,000) and Italy the most deaths (over 17,000). Half the planet's population is on lockdown.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health