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Facebook-Owned Instagram Removes Opioid-Related Posts

Accepted submission by takyon at 2018-04-07 13:54:41
Digital Liberty

One Woman Got Facebook to Police Opioid Sales On Instagram [] (archive [])

Eileen Carey says she has regularly reported Instagram accounts selling opioids to the company for three years, with few results. Last week, Carey confronted two executives of Facebook, which owns Instagram, about the issue on Twitter. Since then, Instagram removed some accounts, banned one opioid-related hashtag and restricted the results for others.

Searches for the hashtag #oxycontin on Instagram now show no results. Other opioid-related hashtags, such as #opiates, #fentanyl, and #narcos, surface a limited number of results along with a message stating, "Recent posts from [the hashtag] are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram's community guidelines." Some accounts that appeared to be selling opioids on Instagram also were removed.

The moves come amid increased government concern about the role of tech platforms in opioid abuse, and follow years of media reports about the illegal sale of opioids on Instagram and Facebook, from the BBC [], Venturebeat [], CNBC [], Sky News [] and others. Following the BBC probe in 2013, Instagram blocked searches of terms associated with the sale of illegal drugs.

[...] Carey is now the CEO of Glassbreakers [], a startup maker of software to support workforce diversity. But she worked on illegal drug sales in her previous job at MarkMonitor, a company that protects brands like pharmaceutical companies from online counterfeiting, piracy, and fraud. In a Mar. 30 tweet to Rob Leathern, Facebook's director of product management, Carey wrote, "The historical response that users can report abuse and moderators will review hasn't changed in 4 years." She asked him to "Please hold leadership accountable."


Also at CNN [].

See also: Facebook Needs to Do More to Stop the Online Opioid Market, Says FDA Chief []

Related: Senate Investigators Google Their Way to $766 Million of Fentanyl []

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