Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) is leading her colleagues in demanding Meta CEO Mark Zuckerburg put an end to the public sale of fentanyl precursor chemicals on Facebook and Instagram. Currently, social media users can find numerous posts advertising these chemicals with tag lines like “home delivery service” and “100%” custom clearance rate with just a click of a button.
In the letter, the lawmakers also pointed out that China remains the principal source of U.S. fentanyl and its precursors.
The lawmakers wrote, “We write to express grave concerns about the public sale of fentanyl precursor chemicals on Facebook and Instagram, both of which are owned by your company Meta. Fentanyl overdoses claim the lives of roughly 70,000 Americans each year. It is incumbent upon all of us to do more to stamp out this scourge on our society. That is why it is so disappointing to see one of the biggest tech companies in the world permitting—willfully or tacitly—the sale of these dangerous chemicals on your platforms.”
They continued, “Social media companies have a responsibility to help prevent dangerous chemicals from getting into the hands of bad actors and Americans of all ages. As the Department of Justice notes, ‘[d]ismantling illicit online drug marketplaces and holding responsible corporations – including responsible executives – who enable these illicit drug marketplaces, is critical to preventing overdoses and stemming the flow of dangerous drugs into our communities.’”
“As Facebook turns a blind eye to fentanyl dealers distributing precursor chemicals on its platform, Americans are left to deal with the ever-growing danger of the drug’s increased presence in our country. This letter rightfully questions Facebook’s failure to curb drug sales and brings much-needed attention to the role social media plays in the opioid crisis. We encourage all senators to support this effort to save American lives and get fentanyl off the streets,” said Ryan Walker, Executive Vice President, Heritage Action.