Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti Sends Letter to Meta Demanding Instagram Stop Monetizing Child Exploitation

Kids on Phone

Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti joined a coalition of 26 other state attorneys general in sending a letter to Meta, the parent company of social media giants Facebook and Instagram, demanding that Instagram stop monetizing child exploitation content.

Citing reporting from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, the coalition of attorneys general expressed concern over news that Instagram has “actively promoted” to “likely pedophiles” content created by “adults seeking to profit from exploiting their own children.”

“The time has long passed for Meta to protect children from such dangerous activity. Meta cannot ignore the appalling consequences of its actions for children both on and off of its platforms,” the attorneys general wrote to Jennifer Newstead, Meta’s chief legal officer.

“Ensuring child safety should be an absolute—not a consideration to be balanced against its costs. And your company’s actions to date—tweaking algorithms, automating processes, and removing accounts with hundreds of thousands of users only after investigative journalists raise the issue—are demonstrably inadequate,” the coalition added.

The state attorneys general are demanding that Instagram immediately “cease monetizing child exploitation and promoting exploitative content to anyone” by immediately ceasing the promotion of child exploitation.

The coalition is also demanding Instagram “prohibit child-modeling accounts altogether, like other content-monetizing platforms.”

“Anything less endangers children,” the coalition said.

Skrmetti, who is currently leading a lawsuit against Meta alleging the company created Instagram using “deceptive and unfair business practices that are fomenting a mental health crisis” in Tennessee, said the company needs to “do a better job” in protecting children.

“My office is already suing Meta for its harm to children’s mental health, and this latest report only adds to my concern about the risks Meta poses to Tennessee kids,” Skrmetti said in a statement. “Meta needs to do a better job of using its vast resources to protect our vulnerable youth.”

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Kaitlin on X / Twitter.





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