(RepublicanDaily.org) – Meta, the social media company that runs and owns Facebook and Instagram, is being sued by a lawmaker from South Carolina who lost his son so suicide after falling prey to a sextortion scam on Instagram.
South Carolina state house Representative Brandon Guffey has been on a campaign to make social media and tech companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms after his oldest son, 17-year-old Gavin, took his own life after encountering by an obscene scammer on Instagram. Guffey himself and his younger son have also been targeted by ostensibly the same criminal, who even went as far as sending a laughing emoji to the state rep just two weeks after he and his family laid Gavin to rest. The scammer was demanding money in exchange for Gavin’s intimate photos.
Last year, Guffey pushed for the passage of the H3583 bill, which criminalizes the act of “sextortion” in the state. Sextortion is when online predators bait and deceive a victim – usually young people – to send explicit photos of themselves online, and then blackmail the victim after. According to the FBI, young boys are often targeted by these predators, who pretend to be women asking the impressionable boys for nude photos. They then threaten to publicly release the photos if they aren’t sent money. The agency also said that the scammers are often outside the U.S., making tracking difficult. The victims are often scared and confused, which prompt many to keep the problem a secret, which in Gavin’s case, prompted him to take his own life. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster signed H3583, or Gavin’s Law, in August last year.
In Guffey’s suit against Meta, he accuses the social media company of engaging in deceptive practices, as well as introducing targeted content for young people that can be potentially addicting. The suit adds that in spite of all of this, the company is not doing anything to protect minors from abuse or from being targeted by sexual predators.
For the sake of profit, Guffey’s suit alleges, Meta has been “exploiting users by implementing defective algorithms” despite foreseeing how these algorithms could lead to minors being exposed to unsafe situations. This, Guffey’s suit says, is a “dereliction of their basic duties of care.”
Meta has not released a formal statement on the suit as of press time, but a spokesperson for the company told Fox News that the company provides teens with “over 30 tools and resources to support them and their parents.”
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