Facebook and other social media giants have demonstrated rather handily they can control the content that appears on their platforms when they choose. It is absurd, then, for the likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to pretend he can do nothing about the continued use of his platform to shill the poison that has kept Appalachia and much of the rest of the country in the grip of a plague that has been killing far longer than COVID-19.

Apathy on the part of Zuckerberg and other tech giants has not gone unchallenged, however.

U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., has seen firsthand the devastation caused by those who are profiting from substance abuse. He had an opportunity last month to say what most of us have been thinking: Tech billionaires who selectively exercise their ability to police what is on their social media platforms should be held accountable for perpetuating this monster.

“You’re still allowing bad actors to push pills on your site,” McKinley told Zuckerberg, during a House Energy and Commerce hearing. “Look, it didn’t take long for our staff to find numerous examples. For example, here’s Oxycodone that’s being sold on your site, here’s Ritalin that’s being sold on your site, here’s Xanax and Adderall that’s being sold on your site. These posts are not new, they’ve been active since last fall. If we can find posts this easily, shame on you for not finding them for yourself. … So, why shouldn’t you be held liable as well? Do you think you’re above the law? You’re knowingly allowing this poison to be sold on your platform into our communities, to our children, to our vulnerable adults.”

Facebook and Instagram are not the only culprits. Google, Twitter and others bear their share of guilt, too. Most of us know the influence and reach social media has in our lives. The CEOs of those companies know it, too. It has made them mind-bogglingly rich.

McKinley is on the right track. Others in Congress should join him in looking for ways to hold tech giants accountable for the deadly activity they are allowing.

(2) comments

bootsielawson

Excellent post and fine response bill and they will slide under this bought and paid for administration with congress on board.

billnonymous

Pills aren't the only problem these big tech platforms openly tolerate while claiming to be combatting it. In 2020, there were over 20 MILLION instances of child exploitation on Facebook alone. Facebook claims they try to combat it, but they obviously do not or do a very poor job of it. Yet if someone posts a video of Trump speaking about child exploitation, it's removed faster than you can blink an eye. Twitter openly allows child exploitation on their platform, a child abuse survivor had to sue Twitter over child exploitation on their platform when Twitter said the video on Twitter of the boy being sexually exploited, "did not violate policies." Facebook allows 'coyotes' in Mexico to literally offer their services on getting adults and/or children into America. None of those accounts or services are removed, Facebook is encouraging this kind of behavior. Again, if Trump put up a video about the abuse of illegal alien children at the border, Facebook would immediately ban it. If you're a 'coyote' you are encouraged to use Facebook's platform to offer illegal services and enrich yourself. Drugs, children, guns, child exploitation, all things that are freely bartered through big tech platforms with their 'wink and a nod' approval.

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