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Meta Contacts Journalist, Tries to Suppress Story After Top Manager Busted in Amateur Child-Sex Sting

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Meta, the parent company of Facebook, has confirmed that a manager of global development who was caught on camera appearing to admit to explicit sexting with a child, is out of his job — but not without first trying to kill the story about the scandal.

Jeren A. Miles was featured in a video posted last week by an amateur group called PCI Predator Catchers. In the video, he was questioned about his texts with an individual he thought was a 13-year-old boy.

Miles quickly deleted his social media presence after the video went viral. On Friday, an executive from Meta confirmed to Tech Crunch that Miles is no longer employed at Meta.

The company did not state whether Miles resigned or was fired, but it is clear that Meta tried to talk Tech Crunch out of covering the story, according to journalist Ingrid Lunden.

“The seriousness of these allegations cannot be overstated. The individual is no longer employed with the company. We are actively investigating this situation and cannot provide further comment at this time,” read a statement from the company provided to Tech Crunch by Drew Pusateri, Facebook’s manager of policy communications.

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“I’ll point out that Pusateri also tried to talk me out of the newsworthiness of this story over the phone before sending over the statement, noting that other outlets were not covering it,” Lunden wrote, cheekily thanking him for the “advice.”

Clearly, this tactic didn’t work, and while the media coverage has most certainly been underwhelming, Meta is still feeling the heat.

As independent journalist Andy Ngo reported last week, the live stream featuring Miles’ alleged admissions was uploaded to YouTube on Feb. 16, in which Miles appeared to admit to having sent graphic, sexual text messages to someone he believed was a 13-year-old whom he had planned to meet at a hotel in Columbus, Ohio.

The hotel was where he was interrogated by the “Predator Catchers” group.

The original YouTube video has over 100,000 views and Tech Crunch notes went viral on other platforms such as Reddit. Ngo’s clip of the interview on Twitter had over 1 million views as of Saturday afternoon, although he also reported on Twitter that some Reddit moderators were trying to suppress the video.

According to Lunden, it is unclear if Miles will face any legal repercussions over the video. She noted that the video “does not depict Miles caught in any sex act, nor admitting to any specific sex act, nor admitting to intending to carry out any sex act.”

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Yet the professional and personal backlash has clearly been fierce. Miles, an LGBT activist, has also been scrubbed from the organization Equality California, according to Ngo.

In a statement, “Predator Catchers Indianapolis” told Ngo that “We have sent over evidence to the police departments in Ohio and California. We hope they open up an investigation.”

However the case works out, we do know there are certainly several people who hope that nothing more becomes of this scandal — Meta’s PR department, which seems to have behaved like total amateurs when it actually tried to talk Tech Crunch out of covering this story.

Do you think Miles is really a sex predator?

It makes matters far worse when you consider that this isn’t even the first time the company has done damage control over an underaged sex scandal: In 2017, then-head of computer vision for Facebook’s virtual reality subsidiary Oculus, Dov Katz, was ousted after he was arrested in a sting operation in which he allegedly solicited a police officer who was posing as a 15-year-old girl.

And that’s to say nothing of the longstanding accusations that the company hasn’t done enough to prevent the use of its platform for human trafficking and child sexual exploitation.

Now, as Lunden noted, Meta’s PR team members certainly have their work cut out for them.

Throwing all professionalism to the wind and trying to kill a damaging story was a really bad move.

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Isa grew up in San Francisco, where she was briefly a far-left socialist before finding Jesus and her husband in Hawaii. She now homeschools their two boys and freelances in the Ozarks.
Isa grew up in San Francisco, where she was briefly a far-left socialist before finding Jesus and her husband in Hawaii. She now homeschools their two boys and freelances in the Ozarks.




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