Facebook and Orkut face organ trafficking allegations in India

Social networking sites Facebook and Google-owned Orkut have come under fire in India following allegations that they are being used in the illegal organ trade.

This weekend (February 17) the Indian Government announced the arrests of several doctors alleged to be using Facebook and Orkut as a source of procuring kidneys online.

Reports suggest that a number of communities on these sites are dedicated to people interested in selling and buying kidneys. The members of these communities include donors, prospective recipients and also their relatives. It also reported that almost every message on these communities have contact details including e-mail addresses and mobile phone numbers.

In the past, ebay was criticised when a human kidney came up for sale on the website in 1999. The bidding for the kidney started at $25,000 and nearly reached $6m before ebay stepped in to stop the auction.

The seriousness of the ebay bid at the time was not known, but existing organ trafficking from places such as India is known to provide illegal organs at much lower cost.

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