Instagram is still allowing drug dealers to push potent cannabis to children despite promising a crackdown after a Daily Mail exposé.
No 10 had also called for the social media giant to take action after our investigation revealed how violent criminals make millions peddling drugs through the site.
But three months on, the two biggest dealers we highlighted are still selling a range of high-strength cannabis products via Instagram to tens of thousands of followers.
Last night the mother of a 23-year-old woman who killed herself in 2019 while suffering from cannabis-induced psychosis condemned the tech company owned by billionaire Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s firm Meta.
Kerry Head, whose daughter Emily Rowling had become increasingly paranoid after she started taking the drug as a teenager, said: ‘My message to the people who run Instagram is, you should be ashamed of yourselves.’
Emily Rowling killed herself in 2019 after suffering from cannabis-induced psychosis
She added that as a result of their ‘inaction’ since the Mail’s investigation it was ‘entirely possible’ that someone could have died after buying powerful cannabis from a dealer on the site.
‘For a drug dealer to be on Instagram for even five minutes before the profile is shut down is five minutes too long,’ said Mrs Head, 51, from Ockbrook, Derbyshire.
‘The fact that Instagram now knows about these profiles and has failed to act is unforgivable and shameful. They are putting their users at risk.’
A user called Spaceshakehq advertises cannabis drinks and edibles such as fruit-flavoured gummies on Instagram to more than 27,000 followers.
Customers who contact it via the site are directed to a Telegram messaging page, where it offers its wares. It was happy to sell a high-strength cannabis strain to a reporter posing as a 16-year-old boy.
Since the original Mail exposé it continues to operate the same way and has also started using images of a scantily clad model to promote its brand.
Another Instagram drug dealer still pushing potent cannabis is Manchester-based Stonechester, which has been promoted by rapper and mental health campaigner Professor Green.
In our first exposé, Stonechester offered an undercover reporter the ultra-potent Californian cannabis strain known as ‘Cali’ and tried to sell packs of potent ‘nerd ropes’ – cannabis-laced children’s sweets that hospitalised 13 pupils at a London girls’ school last year.
A user called Spaceshakehq advertises cannabis drinks and edibles such as fruit-flavoured gummies on Instagram to more than 27,000 followers
A second reporter, posing as a 16-year-old, was offered products with names such as ‘Loaded Cannons’ and ‘Jet Fuel’, for next-day delivery after Bitcoin payment.
Hours after the Mail contacted Professor Green’s publicist for comment about a video of him promoting the site, Stonechester removed the footage, up since December 2018.
It also changed its name on Instagram twice, eventually to stoneyymontanaa, in an apparent bid to evade deletion while retaining its huge following.
The tactic worked and it continues to advertise high-strength cannabis products to more than 18,000 followers. It urges customers on Instagram to message its account for a link to its Telegram service, where it is happy to take orders from school children.
Meta said: ‘Buying and selling drugs is strictly against our rules and we’ve removed these accounts. We work closely with law enforcement to help keep up with evolving trends and are constantly improving our technology. Between July and September we removed 1.8million pieces of drug sales content from Instagram, over 97 per cent, before it was reported to us.’
Meta added those searching for drug-related terms on Instagram were now shown a warning message that links to the drug advice website Frank.
Source: Daily Mail UK