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New Mexico Sues Meta Over Child Safety Failings on Its Platforms

New Mexico attorney general’s office takes on Meta, accusing its platforms of willfully failing to protect children from online harm

“Meta knowingly exposes children to the twin dangers of sexual exploitation and mental health harm,” New Mexico’s attorney general office has said in a lawsuit demanding abatement and jury trial against the company. The complaint, first covered by Wall Street Journal, specifically looked at the child security failings of Facebook and Instagram, which are platforms run by Meta. The office conducted an investigation where it ran fake Instagram accounts as minors. The authorities found that Instagram’s algorithm recommended to these accounts a web of other accounts that shared and purchased child pornography. Please note that the complaint doesn't clarify how the investigation was able to determine that these accounts purchased child pornography. The accounts also attracted accounts that frequently sent out Telegram links, presumably where transactions could be completed. Moreover, the content Instagram recommended to these accounts included child pornography. Yet, even after searching for numerous terms associated with child pornography, the fake accounts were never suspended or flagged with a warning from Instagram. As such the attorney general’s complaint said, “Meta’s conduct has turned New Mexico children who are on its platforms into victims. Meta’s motive for doing so is profit. This action seeks to make social media safer for New Mexico’s children by holding Meta accountable for conduct that violates the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act and creates a public nuisance.” A breeding ground for predators: The complaint accused Facebook and Instagram of being a breeding ground for predators who target children for human trafficking, the distribution of…

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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