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EU has a child-protection ‘warning’ for Meta CEO Zuckerberg

The European Union (EU) has issued a warning to Mark Zuckerberg, the Founder and CEO of Meta (formerly Facebook), regarding the protection of children on Instagram. The EU has urged Zuckerberg to take immediate action or face “heavy sanctions.” This warning comes in response to reports alleging that Instagram’s recommendation algorithms are promoting networks of individuals involved in child exploitation, including the commissioning and sale of child sexual abuse content on the platform.

According to the report, failure to comply with the Digital Services Act (DSA) in curbing the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) could result in penalties of up to 6% of Meta’s global annual turnover.

The existence of these questionable Instagram accounts was exposed by researchers at Stanford University and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, in collaboration with WSJ. The EU’s internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, expressed concerns that Meta’s voluntary code on child protection appears to be ineffective and emphasized the need for immediate action. He further stated that discussions with Mark Zuckerberg will take place at Meta’s headquarters on June 23, and Meta must demonstrate measures or face severe sanctions after August 25 under the DSA.

Previous reports have also accused Instagram of facilitating connections and promoting networks involved in the commission and purchase of underage sexual content.

According to investigators, they discovered a smaller number of accounts offering to sell child sexual abuse material on Twitter compared to Instagram. Specifically, they found 128 such accounts on Twitter, which is less than a third of the number found on Instagram.

Meta, the parent company of Instagram, has acknowledged that it did not take action on these reports promptly. The company has stated that it is currently reviewing its internal processes in response to these findings.

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