DEA tells TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram to do extra to cease on-line drug gross sales
As the number of accidental drug overdoses continues to rise in the United States, the Drug Enforcement Administration is urging social media companies like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok to do more against drug dealers on their platforms.
Earlier this week, the DEA warned of an increase in the number of counterfeit pills sold online containing fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that, in trace amounts, can be fatal. DEA Administrator Anne Milgram told the Washington Post that Snapchat and TikTok are not doing enough to stop drug sales and the DEA will soon ask them to take specific steps to remove all dealers from their platforms.
Social media companies say they tried to combat the problem by hiring more moderators and tweaking algorithms used to detect illegal sales items, but law enforcement and the families of overdose victims say that there should be more parental controls on the websites and data should be shared to catch people working on multiple platforms. Law enforcement agencies say that in many cases, a drug dealer first contacts someone on one website, then goes to another to close the deal, and a third to take the payment.
In 2020, more than 93,000 Americans died from drug overdoses, nearly 30 percent more than in 2019. In February, 16-year-old Sammy Chapman died after taking pills that contain fentanyl purchased online. His parents, TV presenter and therapist Laura Berman and Sam Chapman, said he met a dealer on Snapchat who used a colorful menu to promote its offerings. They are working to get Congress to pass a law requiring social media sites to integrate parental monitoring software, but privacy officers have argued that doing so could harm children who don’t want their parents to know about some aspects of theirs Know life as well as their sexuality.
Sam Chapman told the Post that Snapchat had the same concerns that he couldn’t understand. “We’re trying to protect ourselves from criminals,” said Chapman, “and they’re talking about privacy.”