Four Indonesians were arrested for allegedly selling babies on the Facebook-owned social media network Instagram, where a baby-selling account managed to gain hundreds of followers.
The BBC reported that the account, which managed to gain over 700 followers, “claimed to be a family welfare agency,” posting “images of pregnant women, ultrasound scans and babies,” before finally being removed from the platform.
“A telephone number was provided so potential buyers could make contact via WhatsApp,” reported the BBC, adding that police “managed to intercept one transaction but were still searching for at least one baby that was sold.”
Four people involved in one transaction were arrested after being found out by police.
“The safety of our community on Instagram is our absolute priority,” declared an Instagram spokesman following the incident. “Our policies clearly prohibit people from engaging in criminal activity and coordinating harm on our platform, which includes the sale of humans.”
The Vice-Chairman of the Indonesian Child Protection Commission, Rita Pranawati, claimed that some people attempt to buy babies when they want to adopt, but do not meet the adoption criteria, however, Pranawati also added that children have previously been bought for “underage sex work.”
Instagram’s parent company Facebook has also had problems with black market trading, and a September report claimed the social network had become a hotbed for the sale of endangered animals.
Over 1,500 illegal animal listings, including crocodiles and bears, were discovered on Facebook in just one month, despite platform policies against it.