HomeHigh-techInstagram helps teens buy drugs, report says

Instagram helps teens buy drugs, report says

Instagram is under fire from critics. The social network is accused of spreading drug-related content on the accounts of teenagers, according to a study by the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) watch group.

While the company has pledged to crack down on drug sales, it continues to suggest hashtags related to the purchase of illegal substances to children as young as 13, research shows.

As part of its investigation into the experience of minors on the platform, TTP created seven different fake teenage accounts. He revealed that the company’s algorithms were helping hypothetical minors between the ages of 13 and 17 come into contact with drug traffickers claiming to sell MDMA and fentanyl.

The news comes as Instagram boss Adam Mosseri prepares to testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on Wednesday. She is likely to be asked by members of Congress to talk about the potentially negative impact Instagram has on children.

“I encourage Congress to ask him if he allows children to use Instagram and if he monitors their activity”, said Katie Paul, director of TTP.

“It takes 20 seconds to come into contact with an alleged drug trafficker. The accounts tell you they are children. This is the most shocking thing. The platform’s business model is clearly based on the possibility of accessing younger users. If they are unable to do so without pushing children to these risks, it requires much more investigation by lawmakers ”, she added.

On Tuesday, Instagram announced a series of teen safety-related changes to the app. These included parental controls that will allow parents to limit the time their children spend on the app, options to prevent people from tagging people under the age of 16 if those people aren’t following them, and a feature called ” to make a break “.

TTP defines drug dealers as accounts offering non-medical and pharmaceutical drugs for sale. The organization did not purchase drugs as part of its investigation, which means that some of the dealer accounts it has identified could be scams.

TTP reported 50 messages from suspected drug dealer accounts. Instagram found that 72% had not violated company community guidelines, the researchers said. This included a “buy xanax” account that twice called one of 15-year-old TTP’s fake accounts through Instagram Messenger.

Instagram said it deleted 12 of the posts as well as an entire account that violated its company policies, TTP noted. However, when researchers verified, the account that was believed to have been deleted was still operational.




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