Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday sent a letter to social media giant Meta, demanding the company to explain its shortcomings in enforcement of child safety and how its recommendation algorithm connected pedophilic users, according to a new report from the Wall Street Journal.
The news comes weeks after the WSJ reported in early June that Meta-owned Instagram helped ‘’connect and promote a vast network of accounts openly devoted to the commission and purchase of underage-sex content’’.
Following the report, a company spokesperson told the WSJ that Meta acknowledged the issues related to its enforcement operations, and that it has devoted an internal task force in an effort to address them.
“Child exploitation is a horrific crime,” Meta said. “We’re continuously investigating ways to actively defend against this behavior.”
In their letter, the bipartisan group of 10 senators said they are ‘’gravely concerned that lnstagram’s failure to prevent this perverse use of its algorithms is not due to a lack of ability, but instead a lack of initiative and motivation”.
The group is asking Instagram to explain why it didn’t detect the problem in the first place, what measures it has implemented to prevent similar issues from occurring again, and how it will address reported child sexual exploitation.
They are asking the company to provide more details into the task force it mentioned in its response to the WSJ report, “including the areas of expertise of the participants, supervisory structure, measures of improvement, and implementation plans and timelines”.
In addition, they also expressed their concern that online child sexual exploitation wasn’t a top priority for the company, “especially when its platform directly facilitates and bolsters the black market for child sexual abuse material”.
While the group is demanding Meta to disclose its efforts by July 12, a company spokesperson has declined to share a word about the letter, highlighting the company’s previous response to the WSJ report.