Most days I find a new reason why I am the best father in the world because I keep my children off Facebook and Instagram. Today is one of those days.
Investigators in New Mexico set up a fake Instagram account featuring a girl from seventh grade named “Issa” with AI-generated pictures of her. Issa attracted “thousands” of adult followers, who bombarded her with sex content and invitations to private chat groups featuring children and adults.
Raul Torrez, the New Mexico Attorney General, filed a lawsuit against Meta — the parent of both social media platforms. He claimed that Meta “has allowed Facebook or Instagram to become a market for predators looking to exploit children.”
The lawsuit also holds Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook, “personally accountable” for his decisions to create platforms that “have enabled dozens of adults to find and contact children and pressure them into providing sexually explicit pictures of themselves or participating in pornographic videos.”
Other equally vile offenses include allowing users to “find, share and sell an immense volume of child pornography” and providing “underage users with a stream egregious and sexually explicit images – even when the child expresses no interest in such content.”
Meta has created platforms that allow children to opt out of porn. That’s pretty cool, I suppose. It’s not so nice that it doesn’t work.
Torrez’s suit joins the long list of states that are fighting similar legal battles with Meta for enabling predators to prey on children — now 32 states, as New Mexico has joined in.
Meta released a press release on Tuesday, which did not directly address the New Mexico suit but claimed that it does everything possible to protect its young users. The statement reads: “We hire child safety experts and report content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We also share information and tools to other companies and law enforcement, including state attorneys-general, to help root out predators.”
The New Mexico lawsuit quotes a statement made by Facebook founder president Sean Parker in 2017.
“The thought process behind the creation of these applications, Facebook was one of them…. It was: ‘How can we take up as much of your conscious attention and time as possible?’ “And this means that we have to give you a dopamine rush every now and then because someone commented or liked a photo. This will encourage you to create more content and get more comments and likes. It’s a feedback loop that uses social validation… just like a hacker would do since you are exploiting a weakness in human psychology. “The creators and inventors – me, Mark [Zuckerberg], Kevin Systrom, all these people – understood this. We did it anyway.
Meta’s research shows that teens are the most vulnerable to these vulnerabilities.
Parker stated, “We did it anyway.”
It is easy to protect your children from predators that have Meta as their playground. Parents can use parental controls on their children’s smartphones to stop them from installing social media apps. Meta could ban children from its platform. Too many parents give in to the demands of their children for their “Instas” without realizing that Meta has issues with child predators.
Meta is willingly giving young users up? Meta’s servers that collect data don’t create a habit. Zuckerberg seems to have the attitude, “Get ’em young.”
When you stop to think about it, this is a form of child abuse.