Meta Sued By New Mexico Alleging It Failed To Shield Underage Users
by upasana sarbajna News 07 December 2023
Instagram and Facebook have failed to protect all underage users from getting exposed to child sexual abuse material and let the adults solicit pornographic images from them, the attorney general of New Mexico claims in a lawsuit that follows a secret online investigation.
“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,” Attorney General Raul Torrez said in a statement.
The civil suit was filed late Tuesday against Meta Platforms Inc. at state court and also named its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, as the defendant.
“In addition, the suit claims Meta harms children and teenagers through the addictive design of its platform, degrading users’ mental health, their sense of self-worth, and their physical safety,” Torrez’s office further said in their statement.
Those claims had echoed a lawsuit that was filed in late October by the attorneys general of 33 states, including New York and California, against Meta, which alleges that Facebook and Instagram included features that are deliberately designed to hook minors and further contributed to the mental health crisis of the youth and leading to anxiety, depression, and eating orders.
Investigators within New Mexico developed decoy accounts of kids of 14 years and younger, which Torrez’s office said were “served sexually explicit images even when the child expressed no interest in them. State prosecutors claim that Meta let dozens of adults find, contact, and encourage children to provide sexually explicit and pornographic images.”
The accounts had also received recommendations to join Facebook groups that are unmoderated and devoted to promoting commercial sex, the investigators added, further mentioning that Meta also allows its users to find, spread, and sell a huge amount of child pornography. Mr. Zuckerberg, along with all other meta executives, are fully aware of the harm that their products may cause to young users, and yet they have substantially failed to make the important changes to their platforms that would prevent exploiting the child sexually.