Facebook manager loses job after allegedly caught on YouTube in paedophile sting

Meta says it is investigating the unproven allegations

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An official at Meta, Facebook’s parent company, is out of a job after a video went viral allegedly showing him admitting to sending explicit texts to a teen boy and planning a meeting at an Ohio hotel.

Jeren A Miles, 35, is no longer a manager of global community development at Meta, the company confirmed to TechCrunch, after the allegations were made in a 16 February video from a group called Predator Catchers Indianapolis.

“The seriousness of these allegations cannot be overstated,” Meta told the outlet in a statement. “The individual is no longer employed with the company. We are actively investigating this situation and cannot provide further comment at this time.”

The Independent has reached out for further comment.

It is unclear if the video is accurate, and if Mr Miles was fired or resigned.

In the video of the paedophile sting, the tech exec allegedly describes “flirting” with a teen.

“I was flirting, I was talking to him,” the man on camera says. “Throughout all of this, I’ll let you know, there was never any intention of ever meeting up with him.”

Later, the man does admit to giving the boy his location at the Le Meridien hotel in Columbus, Ohio.

“I gave information, a location, and all that stuff. Yes, it could be perceived like that,” he says.

The story has quickly gained traction on right-wing news sites, which have highlighted Jeren Miles’s work with Equality California, a statewide LGBT+ group.

Mr Miles was “immediately” removed from the board of the group following the allegations, Equality California said on Saturday.

Predator Catchers Indianapolis was founded by an Indianapolis man named Eric Schmutte, part of a growing movement of amateur online sleuths who try to catch predators.

“The way I see it, the justice system is not doing what it needs to do as far as locking up these guys and giving them actual sentences,” he told the Indianapolis Star last year. “So, us exposing them is the next best thing so people can at least know that these guys are predators.”

While some police have acted on tips from the organisation, others have argued such vigilantes are “playing with fire” and documenting evidence of supposed crimes in ways that will rarely stand up in court.

"The vigilante’s actions in ambushing an individual in this way causes great risk to the parties and the public," one prosecutor told the paper. "These actions make the community less safe, by allowing these alleged predators to avoid the possibility of a conviction by tainting a case from the start."

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