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Senator Daines urges Big Tech executives on how social media platforms plan to tackle fentanyl and illicit drug sales

FIRST ON FOX – Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., sent a letter to the CEOs of Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok on Tuesday, asking them what they are doing to combat the sales of fentanyl and other illicit drugs on their platforms.

Parents across the country have lost or nearly lost their children to fentanyl poisoning as the deadly synthetic opioid appears more frequently in pills disguised as Xanax, Adderall and other drugs available to teens through social media.

“We are writing to you today regarding reports that the use of your social media platforms has been linked to the sale of counterfeit fentanyl-containing pills which have caused the deaths of teenagers and young adults across the country,” Daines wrote in Tuesday’s letter. “In light of the devastating increase in drug overdose deaths in the United States, particularly related to fentanyl, we are asking for more information on what actions your companies are taking to protect children and crack down on drug sales. illegal on your platforms.”

Overdose deaths in the United States have doubled in 30 states in the past two years. Between November 2020 and November 2021, more than 107,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About 66% of those deaths involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl, although many overdosed people were unaware they were taking fentanyl.

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Victims, many of them minors or young adults, died after ingesting fentanyl in illicit pills marketed as Xanax and other non-lethal drugs but containing the dangerous opioid without the knowledge of buyers . Among adolescents, deaths from fentanyl in the United States have tripled in two years.

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Deaths of black teenagers in the United States have increased fivefold. Reports suggest some victims may be purchasing illicit drugs and pills containing the opioid on social media apps like Snapchat.

Partout au pays, des parents ont perdu ou ont failli perdre leurs enfants par empoisonnement au fentanyl, car l'opioïde synthétique mortel apparaît plus fréquemment dans des pilules déguisées en Xanax, Adderall et d'autres médicaments disponibles pour les adolescents via les réseaux sociaux.  <classe étendue=CHIU RINGO/AFP” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/NISkPgFY68EjCLAfE_uTSA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM5Nw–/https://s.yimg.com/uu/api/res/1.2/ 2FrTKWTBGSot.cqfy0UIiA–~B/aD03MjA7dz0xMjgwO2FwcGlkPXl0YWNoeW9u/https://media.zenfs.com/en/fox_news_text_979/d6504325de46923c5c73cae3fd893b25″/>

Users sometimes use emoji to disguise conversations about drugs or other illegal activity that can be picked up by monitors that social media companies use to block illegal activity.

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Daines noted in his letter, which has seven co-signers, that the ongoing border crisis has led to a drastic increase in the passage of fentanyl in the United States of China and Mexico.

“Drug dealers in our communities then market these deadly pills to unsuspecting buyers as legitimate prescription pills like Percocet, Xanax and Adderall,” Daines wrote. “Social media platforms like yours provide a convenient place for marketers to anonymously and discreetly sell these counterfeit pills to a young audience. With 4 in 10 of these pills containing a lethal dose of fentanyl, more and more of these line end in tragedy.”

The senator then asked the four social media companies about their ability to detect illicit drug sales on their platforms; how many accounts have they deleted due to drug-related activity; whether the platforms coordinate to prevent such activity; how companies aim to prevent previously banned users from creating new accounts; what recourse do they offer parents and young users; and other probing questions.


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