A group of state attorneys general has launched an investigation into how mobile social networking services such as Instagram work, amid concerns that Instagram’s parent company has little oversight over what people can post to the photo-sharing app.
In a letter sent Wednesday to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the attorneys general raised concerns about how Instagram allows kids to post sexually explicit images and messages, saying this violates state law and their states’ child pornography laws. They also allege that the service allows users to post potentially graphic images of children.
Facebook, which acquired Instagram last year, “insists that the laws only apply to content shared directly with Facebook, but does not require Instagram users to take any affirmative steps to share sensitive child pornography outside of the platform,” the letter said.
Facebook issued a statement Thursday saying the company is “happy to work with all AGs.”
California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington have all joined together to investigate the issue.
The move comes as a growing number of states are seeking to implement stricter regulations regarding social media services. In March, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed a bill that orders public universities to push their student-athletes to sign “social media contracts” that spell out what rules apply to social media use, including who the athletes can and cannot communicate with. Similarly, Washington state’s attorney general is warning that legislators in that state must immediately bring legislation in place to strike a balance between cybersafety and privacy rights.