New Mexico Sues Meta And Zuckerberg Following Child Exploitation Investigation

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New Mexico sued tech giant Meta and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday for “knowingly” exposing kids to exploitation and mental health anguish.

Meta and Zuckerberg were aware that their social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, put children at risk of sexual exploitation as well as mental health damage, according to a court filing. New Mexico’s Attorney General’s (NMAG) Office conducted an undercover investigation, making fake accounts of minors to find the alleged evidence, according to a press release on the lawsuit. (RELATED: Lawmakers Subpoena Big Tech CEOs To Testify On Child Sexual Exploitation)

“Meta and its CEO tell the public that Meta’s social media platforms are safe and good for kids,” the lawsuit states. “The reality is far different. Meta knowingly exposes children to the twin dangers of sexual exploitation and mental health harm. Meta’s conduct has turned New Mexico children who are on its platforms into victims. Meta’s motive for doing so is profit.”

Facebook and Instagram directed young users to sexual posts and helped child predators connect with minors, according to the lawsuit.

“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,” Democratic New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez stated in the release. “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.”

A total of 33 state attorneys general launched a joint lawsuit against Meta related to its platforms’ alleged harmful effects on children, according to a court filing in October. Eight other states and Washington, D.C., launched distinct lawsuits against Meta the same day, according to The Washington Post.

Zuckerberg and other Big Tech CEOs are scheduled to testify about child exploitation in January, according to The Verge.

“Mark Zuckerberg and Meta … have misled the public and failed to make changes to Meta’s platforms that would protect children and teens,” Torrez’s press office told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “In addition to seeking civil penalties to deter Meta from continuing to jeopardize children’s safety, the NMAG is petitioning the court to permanently stop Meta’s harmful practices and demand a change.”

The NMAG wants Meta to establish better age verification and block adult strangers and minors from communicating with each other among other changes, Torrez’s press office added.

“Child exploitation is a horrific crime and online predators are determined criminals,” a Meta spokesperson told the DCNF. “We use sophisticated technology, hire child safety experts, report content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and share information and tools with other companies and law enforcement, including state attorneys general, to help root out predators. In one month alone, we disabled more than half a million accounts for violating our child safety policies.”


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