Meta Accused of Ignoring Incidents of Child Sexual Exploitation on Instagram and Facebook

Meta Platforms Inc. is under fire for allegedly ignoring numerous reports of parents exploiting their children on social media platforms Instagram and Facebook, according to two separate reports by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. The reports detail instances where parents ran accounts featuring their children and benefited from the platform's algorithm and subscription tools to financial gain, often with creepy messages and criticism from other users. The New York Times investigation revealed that accounts run by parents on behalf of their minor children often attracted large followings comprising mostly of male users, including those with inappropriate intentions.

In some cases, parents actively created content designed to attract such audiences, including sharing images of their children in inappropriate clothing and engaging in exclusive chat sessions with online child predators. These activities resulted in algorithm-driven features such as subscription tools, boosting the account owners' reach and potentially generating six-figure incomes from subscriptions. The Wall Street Journal's report alleged that Meta was aware of these activities and yet did not take decisive action to prevent child sexual exploitation on its platforms. Instead, the company's algorithms provided these accounts with subscription tools, effectively promoting them to potential child predators.

Plaintiffs have filed nearly a dozen lawsuits against Meta on matters of child safety on these platforms, with US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers handling the cases. These lawsuits are merely the latest complaints against Meta and other social media platforms for their failure to prevent inappropriate content and protect children from potential predators.

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