U.S. prosecutors probes Meta’s role in the sales of illicit drugs

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In a recent development, U.S. prosecutors have initiated an investigation into Meta, the parent company of Facebook, regarding its potential involvement in illicit drug sales through its social media platforms. This probe, led by prosecutors in Virginia, aims to determine whether Meta’s platforms have facilitated and profited from the illegal sale of drugs. The investigation, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, involves the issuance of subpoenas and questioning as part of a criminal grand jury probe.

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Allegations and Investigations

The core focus of the investigation revolves around whether Meta’s social media platforms have been utilized to facilitate and profit from the sale of illicit drugs. Prosecutors have been actively seeking records related to drug content or the illicit sale of drugs via Meta’s platforms. Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been involved in assisting with the investigation, highlighting the seriousness of the matter.

According to Reuters, the “prosecutors sent subpoenas last year and have been asking questions as part of a criminal grand jury probe”. They have also made requests for all records that may have links to sales of illicit drugs on Meta’s platforms.

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Meta’s Response and Cooperation

In response to these allegations, Meta has emphasized its commitment to combating the sale and distribution of illicit drugs. A spokesperson for Meta stated that the sale of illicit drugs goes against the company’s policies, and they actively work to identify and remove such content from their services. Moreover, Meta has expressed proactive cooperation with law enforcement authorities in their efforts to combat the sale and distribution of illicit drugs.

A spokesperson for Meta made it clear that Meta does not have any links with the sales of illicit drugs. He added that the company will give the authorities all the assistance they need in their probe. The spokesperson said

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“The sale of illicit drugs is against our policies and we work to find and remove this content from our services…Meta proactively cooperates with law enforcement authorities to help combat the sale and distribution of illicit drugs,”
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Collaborative Efforts and Partnerships

Meta’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, has underscored the company’s collaborative initiatives in addressing drug-related issues. Clegg mentioned that Meta has partnered with the U.S. Department of State, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, as well as Snapchat to disrupt the sale of synthetic drugs online. They also collaborated on the education of users about the associated risks. This collaborative approach reflects Meta’s commitment to addressing the challenges posed by the illicit drug trade on social media platforms.

Legal Challenges and Past Allegations

This investigation is not the first legal challenge that Meta is facing in the United States. Previously, the company was embroiled in a lawsuit in Delaware, where several investment funds alleged that Meta’s directors and senior executives were aware of rampant human trafficking and child sexual exploitation on Facebook and Instagram but failed to address these issues effectively. Meta’s legal representatives have argued against the lawsuit, stating that the alleged conduct has not resulted in the company suffering “corporate trauma” as required by Delaware law. Meta has also contended that the claims in the lawsuit are speculative and based on potential future harm or loss.


The ongoing investigation by U.S. prosecutors into Meta’s role in illicit drug sales underscores the complexities and challenges faced by social media platforms in regulating and monitoring content related to illegal activities. Meta’s proactive stance in cooperating with law enforcement authorities as well as its collaborative efforts with various organizations demonstrate a commitment to addressing these critical issues. As the investigation progresses, the outcomes will shed light on the extent of Meta’s involvement in combating the illicit sale of drugs. It will also reveal the measures taken to ensure the safety and integrity of its platforms.

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