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U.S. investigating Meta for role in illicit drug sales, WSJ reports

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A smart phone is displaying Facebook with the Meta icon visible in the background in this photo illustration. Facebook, which was founded 20 years ago, is seen here in Brussels, Belgium, on February 4, 2024.

Jonathan Raa | Nurphoto | Getty Images

U.S. prosecutors in Virginia are probing whether Facebook-parent Meta's social media platforms facilitated and profited from the illegal sale of drugs, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing documents and people familiar with the matter.

The prosecutors sent subpoenas last year and have been asking questions as part of a criminal grand jury probe, the report said, adding that they have also been requesting records related to drug content or illicit sale of drugs via Meta's platforms.

The Food and Drug Administration has also been helping with the investigation, the newspaper added. It noted that investigations do not always lead to charges of wrongdoing.

The paper quoted a spokesman for Meta as saying in a statement: "The sale of illicit drugs is against our policies and we work to find and remove this content from our services".

"Meta proactively cooperates with law enforcement authorities to help combat the sale and distribution of illicit drugs," he added.

The prosecutors' office and a spokeswoman for the FDA declined to comment to WSJ.

Meta, the FDA and the Virginia Attorney General's office did not immediately respond to a Reuters' request for comment.

Meta's president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, said on social media platform X on Friday that Meta had joined up with the U.S. State Department, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Snapchat to help disrupt the sale of synthetic drugs online and educate users about the associated risks.

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