AG sues Meta following child exploitation investigation

After months of investigation into Meta social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General says that they are not safe for children.

AG sues Meta following child exploitation investigation

After months of investigation into the platforms Facebook and Instagram operated by Meta, the New Mexico Office of the Attorney General says that they are not safe for children. 

New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez announced Wednesday that his office filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the company’s subsidiaries Instagram and Facebook Holdings in Santa Fe District Court Wednesday.

“Our investigation into Meta’s social media platforms demonstrates that they are not safe spaces for children but rather prime locations for predators to trade child pornography and solicit minors for sex,” Torrez said in a press release about the filing. “As a career prosecutor who specialized in internet crimes against children, I am committed to using every available tool to put an end to these horrific practices and I will hold companies — and their executives — accountable whenever they put profits ahead of children’s safety.” 

Related: AG urges Congress to study AI and its use in child exploitation

The undercover investigation involved creating decoy accounts of children under 14, the press release states.

Torrez’s office said the evidence collected included:

  • Proactively served and directed the underage users a stream of egregious, sexually explicit images — even when the child has expressed no interest in this content. 
  • Enabled dozens of adults to find, contact, and press children into providing sexually explicit pictures of themselves or participate in pornographic videos. 
  • Recommended that the children join unmoderated Facebook groups devoted to facilitating commercial sex. 
  • Allowed Facebook and Instagram users to find, share, and sell an enormous volume of child pornography. 
  • Allowed a fictitious mother to offer her 13-year-old daughter for sale to sex traffickers and to create a professional page to allow her daughter to share revenue from advertising. 

Those who have experienced sexual exploitation on social media platforms as well as behavioral health side effects to social media use such as addiction, depression, eating disorders or other self-harm issues are asked to share their experiences with the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office by submitting a complaint online at ECS – NM Office of the Attorney General or by calling 1-844-255-9210.Further resources can be found at Community Safety Awareness on the New Mexico Attorney General’s website.

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