Home News Instagram and Facebook Under Fire for Child Exploitation Allegations

Instagram and Facebook Under Fire for Child Exploitation Allegations

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Recent reports and legal actions have thrown a harsh spotlight on Instagram and Facebook, owned by Meta, accusing them of becoming platforms where children are sexually exploited for profit. These allegations raise significant concerns about the safety measures in place on these widely used social networks and the effectiveness of their content moderation practices.

Key Highlights:

  • Legal allegations suggest Instagram and Facebook serve as marketplaces for predators targeting children.
  • Internal Meta documents highlight a historical reluctance to enhance child safety measures.
  • Accusations include the failure to remove child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and the algorithmic promotion of CSAM.
  • Meta’s response emphasizes its commitment to online safety, citing extensive investment in tools and technologies to protect young users.
  • Individual cases, such as the indictment of a Portland man for exploiting children via Instagram, illustrate the platform’s misuse.

Facebook and insta

The Allegations

Reports indicate that Instagram and Facebook have been accused of acting as platforms for the sexual exploitation of children, with predators using these networks to target minors. Legal actions, including a lawsuit filed by the New Mexico Department of Justice, allege that Meta’s platforms facilitated the buying and selling of CSAM, even after such materials were reported. Disturbingly, internal documents from Meta revealed that the company’s algorithms might have inadvertently promoted accounts associated with CSAM​​.

Meta’s Response and Actions

Meta has defended its efforts to protect young users online, stating that it has implemented over 30 tools to support teens and their parents in having safe, age-appropriate experiences on its platforms. The company has emphasized its decade-long commitment to these issues, employing experts and utilizing sophisticated technology to prevent exploitation. Despite these efforts, Meta’s platforms submitted a significant portion of the CSAM reports to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children in 2022, highlighting the ongoing challenge of moderating such content effectively​​.

Individual Cases Highlight Broader Issues

One notable case involved an 18-year-old from Portland, charged with multiple counts related to the sexual exploitation of children through Instagram. This individual allegedly persuaded minors to send sexually explicit photos, threatening to distribute the images if the children did not comply. This case, among others, underscores the real-world consequences of inadequate safeguards on social media platforms​​.

The Need for Improved Safeguards

The allegations and cases brought to light against Meta and its platforms, Instagram and Facebook, call for a reevaluation of the current measures in place to protect children online. Despite Meta’s assertions of having invested significantly in child safety, the reported instances of exploitation and the documented internal concerns about the adequacy of these measures suggest that more needs to be done.


The accusations against Instagram and Facebook paint a troubling picture of the digital landscape for young users. While Meta’s commitment to child safety is evident in its public statements and reported actions, the persistent issues and legal challenges suggest a gap between intention and impact. As digital platforms continue to evolve, the paramount importance of safeguarding young users against exploitation cannot be overstated. The balance between privacy, freedom of expression, and safety will remain a critical issue for Meta and all social media companies moving forward.