European Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton wants Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg to explain and take « immediate » action about a large pedophile ring recently exposed on Instagram.
Instagram has allowed a vast network of accounts to promote and purchase child pornography to flourish on its platform, according to investigations by the Wall Street Journal and researchers released on June 7. The social media platform allows users to search for explicit hashtags and allows offenders to leverage its recommendation algorithms to promote illicit content.
« Meta’s voluntary child protection code doesn’t seem to work, » Breton he wrote Thursday on Twitter. « Mark Zuckerberg must now explain and act immediately. »
Breton said he will discuss the matter with Zuckerberg at Meta’s headquarters on June 23 during a trip to the U.S. Digital Services Act (DSA).
He said Meta will have to « demonstrate the measures » to the European Commission after August 25, when the DSA starts applying to Big Tech platforms. Otherwise, the company could face hefty fines of up to 6% of its global annual revenue. Under the DSA, platforms must crack down on illegal content and ensure that children are safe on a platform. Companies must also evaluate and limit how their platforms and algorithms are contributing to serious social problems such as the spread of illegal content and the protection of minors.
A spokesperson for Meta said the company has set up an internal task force to investigate and « immediately address » the recent findings by the Wall Street Journal and researchers.
The firm works « aggressively to combat » child exploitation and support law enforcement agencies in tracking down criminals, the spokesman said. Meta took down 27 « abusive networks » between 2020 and 2022 and disabled more than 490,000 accounts for violating our child safety policies in January 2023, they added.