In a significant legal move to address online threats to minors, New Mexico’s Democratic Attorney General Raúl Torrez has taken decisive action against tech giant Meta Platforms, Inc., its CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and associated entities, such as Instagram, LLC, and Facebook Holdings, LLC.
The lawsuit, submitted on Thursday, marks a strong initiative to fight the exploitation of children on social media platforms.
“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 Torrez said in a statement.
“As a career prosecutor who specialized in internet crimes against children, I am committed to using every available tool to put an end to these horrific practices and I will hold companies — and their executives — accountable whenever they put profits ahead of children’s safety,” he added.
Over the last few months, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office initiated an undercover operation, portraying individuals under the age of 14 on Meta’s platforms. This covert operation revealed troubling results, uncovering that:
- Proactively served and directed the underage users a stream of egregious, sexually explicit images — even when the child has expressed no interest in this content.
- Enabled dozens of adults to find, contact, and press children into providing sexually explicit pictures of themselves or participate in pornographic videos.
- Recommended that the children join unmoderated Facebook groups devoted to facilitating commercial sex.
- Allowed Facebook and Instagram users to find, share, and sell an enormous volume of child pornography.
- Allowed a fictitious mother to offer her 13-year-old daughter for sale to sex traffickers and to create a professional page to allow her daughter to share revenue from advertising.
AG Torrez voiced serious concerns about the awareness and lack of action from Meta executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, underscoring that they are well aware of the potential risks their platforms pose to young users.
“Mr. Zuckerberg and other Meta executives are aware of the serious harm their products can pose to young users, and yet they have failed to make sufficient changes to their platforms that would prevent the sexual exploitation of children,” Torrez stated.
“Despite repeated assurances to Congress and the public that they can be trusted to police themselves, it is clear that Meta’s executives continue to prioritize engagement and ad revenue over the safety of the most vulnerable members of our society,” he added.
Investigators were shocked to discover that Facebook and Instagram contained child exploitive content at rates even higher than those on adult platforms like Pornhub and OnlyFans.
The complaint, forced to omit various graphic content due to its disturbing nature, starts with a bold black box warning about the sexually explicit materials it does include as evidence.
You can read the 228-page complaint by clicking HERE.
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