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US prosecutors investigating Meta for role in illicit drug sales, WSJ says

The Wall Street Journal report also says the Food and Drug Administration is helping to investigate the Facebook owner.

US prosecutors in Virginia are probing whether Facebook-parent Meta’s social media platforms facilitated and profited from the illegal sale of drugs, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Citing documents and people familiar with the matter, the article published on Saturday reported that prosecutors sent subpoenas last year and have been asking questions as part of a criminal grand jury probe.

The report added that prosecutors have also been requesting records related to drug content or illicit sale of drugs via Meta’s platforms and said the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been helping with the investigation.

“The sale of illicit drugs is against our policies and we work to find and remove this content from our services”, a spokesperson for Meta told the WSJ.

“Meta proactively cooperates with law enforcement authorities to help combat the sale and distribution of illicit drugs,” he added.

Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said on social media platform X on Friday that Meta had collaborated with the US Department of State, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Snapchat to help disrupt the sale of synthetic drugs online and educate users about the associated risks.

“The opioid epidemic is a major public health issue that requires action from all parts of US society,” Clegg, said.

This is not the first time Facebook’s parent company has been taken to court by lawyers in the United States.

Last year, a lawsuit was filed in Delaware by several investment funds claiming that Meta’s directors and senior executives have long known about rampant human trafficking and child sexual exploitation on Facebook and Instagram, but have failed to address the predatory behaviour.

David Ross, a lawyer for Meta, argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the alleged conduct of the company’s leaders has not resulted in Meta suffering “corporate trauma” as required by Delaware law. The company also argues that the lawsuit’s claims are based on speculation that it might face future harm or loss.

In a statement, Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said the company has spent “over a decade fighting these terrible abuses both on and off our platforms and supporting law enforcement in arresting and prosecuting the criminals behind it”.


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