Facebook Stops Results for Drug Related Searches

Facebook has stopped its search queries from showing pages or groups containing opioids and other drugs related content. Many drug dealers have used Facebook pages to market their illegal services and acquire new customers. The search feature will also be implemented on Instagram along with restrictions on drug-related hashtags. Earlier in June, Facebook also began displayed a message to users who would do drug-related searches asking if they needed substance abuse assistance. If accepted, the message would redirect the user to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration website. The move is the social media platform’s contribution in the fight against the opioid epidemic that has plagued the United States.

It is no secret that the there has been a drug epidemic in the United States that seems to be only worsening as time passes by. This year a report stated that 72,000 deaths related to drug overdoses occurred in 2017; a 10% increase compared to the previous year. About 30,000 of those overdose deaths were related to synthetic opioids. In an attempt to combat the epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration(FDA) held a summit in June to discuss the role tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram play in facilitating the sale of illegal drugs. The summit allowed the tech companies to enter a discourse in changes and policies they can implement to curb the drug and opioid outbreak.

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