Concerning Times Ahead for Facebook and YouTube as a New Report Accuses the Platforms of Having a Steroid Problem!

According to a recent study, people can easily buy Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APED) via Facebook and YouTube. Researchers from Digital Citizens Alliance (through a few searches) were guided to YouTube videos that made it easier for them to reach out to the dealers. Furthermore, drugs of the above-mentioned type or APEDs were bought (through a link on a Facebook page) and tested.

The study also shows that ads and suggestions that direct people to dealers are popping up in content, mainly the fitness and bodybuilding content on social media platforms.

A survey revealed that more than half of the people who take steroids are mainly using them for improving their appearance instead of performance.

YouTube and Facebook are no strangers to controversies. Both platforms have been in hot water lately for various violations. Now with the accusations of making it easier for young people to purchase drugs, things can only get worse.

Between April and June of this year, YouTube has taken down over 94,000 “harmful or dangerous” videos, according to its Transparency Report page. According to YouTube's spokesperson they take expert guidance while developing the policies. It was also brought up how YouTube’s terms of service allow the creation of documentaries regarding the uses of drugs.

A Facebook spokesperson said that Facebook doesn’t allow buying, selling or trading drugs over the platform and any content violating these standards gets taken down as soon as its presence is acknowledged.

After Donald Hooton Sr.’s 17-year-old son Taylor committed suicide in 2003 due to falling into depression after stopping drugs, Hooton learned about depression being a side effect of quitting drugs. He and his family launched a foundation named after his late son to educate parents about how easily can drugs be found and bought.

On YouTube, it has been found that people looking at fitness content could get suggested pages related to the use of steroids and with the contact information of dealers. As for Facebook, following a suggested link for “Landmark Chemicals” page led the researchers to discover various types of drugs and steroids listed for sale. One of Facebook’s “Shop Now” button was also featured, clicking on which led the researchers to another page outside Facebook where the visitors were presented with an option of buying Deca Durabolin (anabolic steroid) as well as HGH.

After the drugs were purchased and tested at Microtrace lab, it was found that the HGH was fake. Digital Citizens Alliance’s executive director said that although hard drugs are monitored on the social media, sites selling APEDs operate freely.

As per a survey of almost 2,500 Americans conducted by Digital Citizens Alliance a few months ago, women are targeted more than men by ads and suggestions for steroids. The survey results also implied that more than half of the respondents who admitted to using steroids used them only to enhance their appearance.

Hooton said that the availability of drugs on the internet has made him more alarmed than ever. According to him, this used to be an issue concerned with athletes, due to which college kids, Olympians and high school athletes like his son started taking drugs. However, the problem has become much more severe now.

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