Instagram makes it easy for teens to find drugs or heavy drugs

by Team Inc.

2021-12-08-Instagram makes it easy for teens to find drugs

IIn a report published Tuesday, the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) created seven fake accounts for teenage users ages 13, 14, 15 and 17. Instagram didn't stop those accounts from searching for drug-related content. In one case, the platform automatically populated the results when a user started typing “buyxanax” into the search bar. One suggested account was a Xanax dealer.

After tracking the account of a Xanax dealer, one of the fake accounts received a message with a menu of products, prices and shipping options. Another fake account was suggested to follow an account that sells Adderall.

Drug content and illegal drug sales

“I would say Instagram is one of the worst places for exposure to this type of content,” said Tim Mackey, a professor at the University of California, San Diego and founder of S-3, a company that promotes illegal activities. drugssale online follows.

Stephanie Otway, a spokesperson for Instagram parent company Meta, said in a statement to NBC News that the platform prohibits the sale of drugs and drugs. “We will continue to improve in this area in our ongoing efforts to keep Instagram safe, especially for our youngest members of the community.”

Alternative drugs #

The platform bans many drug-related hashtags, such as #mdma, but when underage users search for that hashtag, Instagram suggests alternatives, such as #mollymdma. Otway told NBC News that the company will review hashtags to check for policy violations.

The report comes during a period of renewed research into how Instagram and Facebook are impacting the mental and physical health of its adolescent and teenage users. A group of academic researchers published an open letter Monday calling on Meta to be more transparent about its research into the mental health of its young users. Congress held hearings on the platforms in October after reports in The Wall Street Journal highlighted concerns that Instagram could harm the mental health of young users, especially teenage girls. During those hearings, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) pointed to another TTP report, which found that Facebook approved ads promoting drug use and anorexia.

Instagram chief Adam Mosseri will testify before Congress on Wednesday in a hearing titled “Protecting Kids Online: Instagram and Reforms for Young Users.”

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