Meta under fire after investigation into “child influencer” accounts

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Meta and its subset platforms have long been accused of knowingly compromising children and letting them use the platform without age verification. But a new report by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal is shedding light on the hidden aspects of “child influencers” on Instagram and Facebook, revealing how parents behind these accounts are sexually exploiting their children.

While these platforms apparently do not let underage children in or limit their access to sensitive content, they knowingly let parents run accounts for children and sell sexual materials of their kids to users, most likely pedophiles lurking online.

The materials include photos of children, chat sessions with them, and used clothes and leotards. Even worse, some parents reportedly forced children to interact with sexual messages sent by some followers. Meta has not yet commented on the matter.

Meta comes under fire for “knowingly” letting parents post explicit content about their children and sexually exploit them

The content produced by such parents allegedly came under the radar of Meta staff. And they were aware that some parents are creating content of their children that’s attractive to pedophiles. The parents running those children’s accounts even had the chance to use Meta’s paid promotion tools to expand their content’s reach. As per an internal survey conducted by Meta in 2020, over 500,000 child Instagram accounts had “inappropriate” interactions daily.

As the reports read, some child influencers on Instagram make $3,000 per post. This allows parents to make even six-figure incomes out of their children’s content. Meanwhile, such accounts attract a large number of male followers, and a considerable number of them could happen to be pedophiles. Among the 5,000 examined accounts, roughly 32 million male users were found.

Meta staff suggested the company force those child accounts to register for monitoring or ban their subscription. However, those suggestions were all rejected by the firm. Meta instead developed a system to prevent potential pedophiles from subscribing to children’s accounts. That system could be unreliable, of course.

The New York Times also criticized Meta’s content moderation attempts. The outlet reported that the tech firm only took action against 1 out of 50 reported content in an eight-month period.