Instagram and Facebook Subscriptions Get New Scrutiny in Child Safety Suit

The New Mexico attorney general, who last year sued Meta alleging that it did not protect children from sexual predators and had made false claims about its platforms’ safety, announced Monday that his office would examine how the company’s paid-subscription services attract predators.

Attorney General Raúl Torrez said he had formally requested documentation from the social media company about subscriptions on Facebook and Instagram, which are frequently available on children’s accounts run by parents.

Instagram does not allow users under 13, but accounts that focus entirely on children are permitted as long as they are managed by an adult. The New York Times published an investigation on Thursday into girl influencers on the platform, reporting that the so-called mom-run accounts charge followers up to $19.99 a month for additional photos as well as chat sessions and other extras.

The Times found that adult men subscribe to the accounts, including some who actively participate in forums where people discuss the girls in sexual terms.

“This deeply disturbing pattern of conduct puts children at risk — and persists despite a wave of lawsuits and congressional investigations,” Mr. Torrez said in a statement.

Mr. Torrez filed a complaint in December that accused Meta of enabling harmful activity between adults and minors on Facebook and Instagram and failing to detect and remove such activity when it was reported. The allegations were based, in part, on findings from accounts Mr. Torrez’s office created, including one for a fictitious 14-year-old girl that received an offer of $180,000 to appear in a pornographic video.

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