Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is currently facing a wave of legal challenges over child safety concerns. The most recent lawsuit filed by New Mexico is part of a broader legal action involving 41 states and the District of Columbia. This lawsuit underscores the increasing scrutiny over Meta’s role in protecting younger users from online dangers.

Overview of the New Mexico Lawsuit

Allegations of Failure to Protect Young Users: New Mexico has sued Meta for allegedly failing to adequately protect younger users on its platforms. This lawsuit forms part of a larger legal challenge involving numerous states.

Use of AI-Generated Photos in Investigation: The State Attorney General’s office created fake accounts on Instagram and Facebook, using AI-generated photos to pose as preteens and teenagers.

Exposure to Inappropriate Content: These test accounts reportedly received explicit messages, images, and sexual propositions. There are claims that Meta’s algorithms even recommended sexual content to these accounts.

Predator Marketplace Accusation: The lawsuit accuses Meta of enabling a marketplace for predators on its platforms, particularly targeting Facebook and Instagram.

Negligence in Age Restriction Enforcement: Meta is also being accused of negligence in preventing users under the age of 13 from accessing its platforms.

Circumvention of Age Restrictions in Investigation: Investigators bypassed Meta’s age restrictions, hinting through the test accounts’ activities that they were used by children. These accounts depicted typical childlike scenarios, such as losing a baby tooth and starting seventh grade.

Disturbing Findings: Alarming findings include the receipt of child sex images and propositions for sex by these test accounts.

Meta’s Response Systems: According to the suit, Meta’s systems frequently classified reported inappropriate content as permissible on its platforms.

Additional Developments and Meta’s Response

  • Establishment of a Task Force: In response to earlier reports of child safety issues, Meta established a task force focused on addressing these concerns.
  • Reports of Child Sex Abuse Livestreams: The Canadian Centre for Child Protection reported continued livestreams of child sex abuse on Instagram, raising questions about the effectiveness of Meta’s safety measures.
  • Meta’s Stance on Child Safety: Meta claims to prioritize child safety and has invested heavily in safety teams. The company also emphasizes its use of advanced technology and collaboration with law enforcement to root out predators.

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