New Mexico AG sues Meta, alleges exposure of children to ‘harmful,’ ‘explicit’ content

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By Carina

New Mexico Attorney General Raúl Torrez has initiated a landmark lawsuit against Mark Zuckerberg and his company Meta, the parent entity of social media giants Facebook and Instagram.

The suit alleges that these platforms have deliberately exposed children to harmful and explicit content, making them vulnerable to adult predators and facilitating illegal activities.

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Decoy accounts reveal Meta’s platforms steering minors to explicit content

In a striking revelation, investigators working on the case set up several decoy accounts posing as children aged 14 and younger.

Their findings were alarming: the platforms not only allowed but also recommended these child-like accounts to join unregulated Facebook groups known for promoting commercial sex.

The investigation further uncovered that Meta’s platforms have been instrumental in enabling users to locate, share, and sell a staggering volume of child pornography.

Torrez lawsuit spotlights Meta platforms as havens for predatory behavior

Torrez’s lawsuit emphasizes the danger these platforms pose to children, describing them as “prime locations for predators.”

The evidence gathered suggests a proactive role of the platforms in serving explicit content to underage users.

The lawsuit cites instances where adults were able to contact children for photo-sharing and facilitated the inclusion of minors in groups associated with human trafficking.

One particularly shocking case mentioned involves the platform allowing a fictitious mother to offer her 13-year-old child for sale.

Meta responds to lawsuit, mentions efforts to combat online child exploitation

Responding to the lawsuit, a spokesperson from Meta refrained from commenting on the specific allegations but provided a broader perspective on the company’s efforts against such abuses.

The spokesperson said, “Child exploitation is a horrific crime, and online predators are determined criminals. We use sophisticated technology, hire child safety experts, report content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and share information and tools with other companies and law enforcement, including state attorneys, to help root out predators. In one month alone, we disabled more than half a million accounts for violating our child safety policies.”

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Ex-FBI agent backs lawsuit against Meta, calls for algorithmic solutions

Jennifer Coffindaffer, a retired FBI special agent, highlights the significance of this lawsuit. Coffindaffer’s insights point to the potential impact of this legal action.

“I’m glad it’s happening. I think that it needs to be looked at closer, and I think it needs to stop. If they can do an algorithm to have images show up for people that are seeking that from a sex trafficking or pedophilia standpoint, they could certainly put an algorithm to stop it,” she commented, indicating the technical feasibility of preventing such exploitation.

This lawsuit is part of a more significant trend of legal action against Meta. More than 40 states have accused the company of contributing to the youth mental health crisis.

Lawsuit challenges Meta’s practices, aims to boost online safety for children

The allegations include claims that Meta has deliberately designed its platforms to addict children to their services, a strategy that critics argue exacerbates mental health issues among young users.

As the lawsuit progresses, it not only represents a critical moment for child safety online but also a turning point in the accountability of social media giants.

The outcome of this legal battle could set a precedent for how technology companies are required to protect young users from exploitation and abuse, marking a significant step in the ongoing struggle to make the digital world safer for children.

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