Right after 404 Media launched, I detailed my months-long odyssey in which I have repeatedly and regularly been served ads on Instagram for hard drugs, counterfeit money, hacked and “cloned” credit cards, and guns. That article has been widely aggregated and shared, and I have appeared on national radio shows and large podcasts talking about it. I have also explained how it is possible, within seconds, to find this stuff on Meta’s ad library.
A Meta spokesperson originally told me that views for illegal goods make up less than .05 percent of what people see, though with billions of users, that still makes up potentially millions of views. Again, Meta is being paid to inject these into people's feeds (but has no problem throttling journalism about its practices).
So, two weeks later, let’s see if one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world has discovered how to perform a basic search on its own platform.
Here are ads that Meta has approved, is making money on, and are currently being injected into users’ feeds. I found them all by clicking this link and typing in "t.me" into the search bar, something that Meta has seemingly not figured out how to do yet:
“Gas, carts, pills, wock, snow, ice, shrooms, acid!"
Pills from "Medical pharmacy"
Pills and cloned credit cards:
"Xanax, M30, Exotics gas, Ecstacy and Ice":
Passports, drivers licenses:
"Dmt, lsd acid, ice and molly":
"Xanax, M30, Exotics gas, Ecstasy and Ice:" (different ad and photo)
"Dark Market Clone Credit Cards":
Stacks of cash:
Shrooms and cloned credit cards:
"Firearms and clone cards":
This ad, for "Pure Cartel Dope" was approved, then was taken down by Facebook:
We'll check back later to see how Meta is doing on this task!