(MENAFN) New Mexico's Attorney General, Raul Torrez, has filed a civil lawsuit against Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, along with its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. The lawsuit, following an undercover online investigation, alleges that the social media platforms inadequately protect underage users from exposure to child sexual abuse material and permit adults to solicit explicit imagery from minors. Torrez asserted that the investigation revealed that Meta's platforms are not secure spaces for children, but rather, they serve as prime locations for predators engaging in the illicit exchange of child pornography and soliciting minors for sexual activities.
Moreover, the lawsuit contends that Meta harms children and teenagers through the addictive design of its platform, negatively impacting users' mental health, self-worth, and physical safety. These allegations mirror those made in a lawsuit filed in October by attorneys general from 33 states, including California and New York, against Meta. The October lawsuit claimed that Instagram and Facebook intentionally include features designed to engage and hook children, contributing to a youth mental health crisis marked by depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Notably, New Mexico was not a party to the October lawsuit.
The investigation in New Mexico involved the creation of decoy accounts representing children aged 14 and younger. These accounts allegedly received sexually explicit images even when the simulated child showed no interest in such content. State prosecutors argue that Meta allowed numerous adults to locate, contact, and encourage children to provide explicit and pornographic images. Additionally, the lawsuit contends that Meta permitted its users to discover, share, and sell a substantial volume of child pornography. The legal action intensifies the scrutiny faced by Meta Platforms Inc., highlighting concerns about the safety and well-being of underage users on its popular social media platforms.
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