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Senators demand answers from Meta over how it handles CSAM on Instagram

A group of bipartisan senators are said to have asked Meta to explain Instagram’s alleged failure to prevent child sexual abuse material (CSAM) from being shared among networks of pedophiles on the platform. Lawmakers from the Senate Judiciary Committee also want to know how Instagram’s algorithms brought users who want to share such content together in the first place, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In a letter to the company, 10 senators including committee chair Dick Durbin and Republican ranking member Lindsey Graham reportedly said they were “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.” They are said to to be worried that Meta doesn’t seem to have made CSAM one of its main priorities, “especially when its platform directly facilitates and bolsters the black market for child sexual abuse material.”

They demanded answers on why Instagram didn’t detect that CSAM was being shared and what the platform is doing to prevent the same thing from happening again. The senators also want to know more about a task force Meta says it has set up to tackle these issues. They asked the company to respond by July 12th. Engadget has requested a copy of the letter.

Earlier this month, the Journal reported that Meta’s algorithms helped to “connect and promote a vast network of accounts” that propagated CSAM. The report suggested that pedophiles are buying and selling CSAM on Instagram. Meta says it has set up a task force to address the issue. It pledged to take down CSAM networks and says it’s trying to prevent its systems from putting potential abusers in contact with each other.

Meta has declined to comment on the letter, instead reiterating its statement on the Journal‘s initial report. “Child exploitation is a horrific crime,” it said, “We’re continuously investigating ways to actively defend against this behavior.”

A European Union official has also ordered Meta to address CSAM issues quickly, warning that the company may face heavy sanctions otherwise. From the end of August, Meta and other major tech platforms will have to comply with the bloc’s Digital Services Act, which has specific rules on how they have to handle issues like CSAM. If a company doesn’t comply with the act, it can face fines of as much as six percent of its annual global turnover.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/senators-demand-answers-from-meta-over-how-it-handles-csam-on-instagram-152751882.html?src=rss

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