Skip to main content

Statement on the Sales of Illicit Drugs Online And The California Policy to Hold Social Media Platforms Accountable

For immediate release:

“There are drug sellers on every major social media platform,” is a quote from a New York Times May 2022 article while an LA Times November 2023 article notes, “As long as your child is on one of those platforms, they’re going to have the potential to be exposed to drug sellers.”

The uptick in both online sales of opioids like Fentanyl and overdoses, especially amongst teenagers, is concerning and requires immediate action. This is why I have introduced AB 1800, the Online Accountability Act, that holds social media owners and operators accountable for allowing the sales of these deadly drugs on their platforms.

As recently reported by several media outlets, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, federal prosecutors are looking into whether the company facilitated and profited from illicit sales of drugs. According to the Wall Street Journal, federal prosecutors sent Meta subpoenas seeking records on “violative drug content on Meta’s platforms and/or the illicit sale of drugs via Meta’s platforms.”

Under my bill, any person who suffers injury that is proximately caused by the purchase of a controlled substance through a social media platform can be compensated for loss if the social media company was allowing such activity on its platform(s).

Social media groups could face fines and penalties ranging from $100,000 for a first time offense and up to $2 million per violation if a person’s death was caused/involved in an online purchase of illegal drugs.

AB 1800 is a first-step in helping prevent deaths from sales of harmful drugs by having social media companies identify and shuttered because of illegal operations on their platforms and hold them accountable for being complicit in allowing such activity on their watch.