Forget the dark alleys Silk Road, darknet and OpenBazaar. Ryot News reports that drugs can be effortlessly found for sale on Instagram, of all places.
The process works like this: postings are labelled with a shady, ambiguous hashtag, which is returned among other innocuous search results. The two parties connect via a messaging service such as Kik, and the sale is made with bitcoins or untraceable prepaid cards.
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Instagram has tried hard to crack down on the practice, as one would expect from good guys on the conventional web and now owned by social media giant Facebook. But it’s easier said than done. The ever-evolving world of drug terminology means that buyers and sellers are the first in the know, leaving Instagram and authorities one step behind.
Furthermore, even totally innocuous searches return the random posting openly advertising the goods, itself tagged to blend in.
Instagram was successful in taking down #XANAXFORSALE, which used to have 284 posts. But until a markedly different approach is tried, participants may not have to resort back to the dark web just yet.