Facebook and Instagram are facing a lawsuit in the US filed by New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez, alleging that the platforms are a "breeding ground" for child predators involved in human trafficking, grooming, and solicitation. The lawsuit claims that certain child exploitative content is "over 10 times more prevalent on Facebook and Instagram than it is on Pornhub and OnlyFans."
The lawsuit accuses Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, and its Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg of failing to protect children from sexual abuse and human trafficking. The New Mexico Attorney General's Office conducted an undercover investigation, creating decoy accounts of children aged 14 and younger. The probe allegedly revealed that the platforms proactively served sexually explicit content to underage users, even when there was no interest expressed by the child.
The lawsuit contends that Meta failed to remove Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) across its platforms, allowing adults to find, contact, and solicit underage users for illicit imagery and participation in commercial sex. It also claims that Meta executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, are aware of the harm their platforms can pose to young users but have failed to make sufficient changes.
The complaint also outlines how Meta's platform design harms children and teenagers, impacting mental health, self-worth, and physical safety. The lawsuit follows a recent one in October, where 33 US states alleged that Meta targeted children with addictive features. Meta responded, stating they have introduced proactive methods to catch and remove accounts violating child safety policies and work to combat online child exploitation.
(With Agency Inputs)