A shocking new report from the Wall Street Journal has exposed a “vast” network of pedophiles using Instagram to traffic sexually explicit content -and minors themselves- within the United States.
“Instagram, the popular social-media site owned by Meta META -0.17%Platforms, helps connect and promote a vast network of accounts openly devoted to the commission and purchase of underage-sex content, according to investigations by The Wall Street Journal and researchers at Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst,” writes the WSJ.
“Pedophiles have long used the internet, but unlike the forums and file-transfer services that cater to people who have interest in illicit content, Instagram doesn’t merely host these activities. Its algorithms promote them,” the Journal reported. “Instagram connects pedophiles and guides them to content sellers via recommendation systems that excel at linking those who share niche interests.”
A spokesperson for Meta, Instagram’s parent company, confirmed the research.
“Child exploitation is a horrific crime. We work aggressively to fight it on and off our platforms, and to support law enforcement in its efforts to arrest and prosecute the criminals behind it,” the rep said in a statement. “Predators constantly change their tactics in their pursuit to harm children, and that’s why we have strict policies and technology to prevent them from finding or interacting with teens on our apps, and hire specialist teams who focus on understanding their evolving behaviors so we can eliminate abusive networks.”