Instagram Continues to Fuel ‘Perfect Storm’ Targeting Children

NCOSE Press Statement logo

WASHINGTON, DC (November 7, 2023) – Ahead of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with an Instagram whistleblower today, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) called on Congress to once and for all hold Meta accountable for years of knowingly endangering the safety and well-being of its teen users. Instagram is on NCOSE’s 2023 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation.

As a (yet another) Wall Street Journal exposé on the predatory behavior on Instagram revealed, “One in eight users under the age of 16 said they experienced unwanted sexual advances on the platform over the previous seven days.”

“Two years ago, another Meta whistleblower called out Instagram for creating a ‘perfect storm’ of harm on the platform. Unfortunately, that ‘perfect storm’ has not abated – causing untold harm to children. Instagram’s algorithms target young people, damaging their self-esteem and mental health, which then makes them more vulnerable to exploitation. Then Meta provides the very tools and features for predators to easily target and access children. This vicious cycle must end, and Congress must demand accountability from Meta and all tech platforms that are hurting our children,” said Lina Nealon, Vice President and Director of Corporate Advocacy, National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“Meta knows the harms exist, yet it has consistently shown that it prioritizes profit over the health, safety, and well-being of its youngest users. Instagram is repeatedly ranked among the most dangerous apps for children for a host of harms and risks – including multiple forms of sexual exploitation, such as child sexual abuse material (CSAM) sharing and sextortion. It is past time for Meta to change.

“Congress must step up to ensure that children and teens are truly protected on tech platforms by passing the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) that requires social media companies to enable the strongest safety settings by default and creates a duty of care for online platforms to prevent and mitigate harms to children. No child, no guardian is a match for social media platforms that ignore and even enable predatory behavior and unleash powerful algorithms that feed kids harmful content,” Nealon said. 
Evidence of child sex abuse and exploitation on Instagram: 

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography. 

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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