Zuckerberg is surprised at the extent of the opioid problem — but Facebook is full of illegal ads for opioids
- Mark Zuckerberg said the extent of the opioid crisis was what surprised him most in his travels throughout America
- Yet people are marketing opioids illegally on Facebook, as well as websites and services of its chief rival, Google
- The drug activity comes as the internet giants are struggling to keep hate speech, fake news, violent content and foreign political propaganda
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the scope of the opioid crisis was what surprised him most during his 2017 travels throughout the country.
But all he had to do was look at Facebook to see how pervasive the marketing is for these powerful and addictive pain medications.
Sellers here and overseas are using Facebook pages and videos to offer drugs that U.S. laws say require a prescription, CNBC has found.
Searching on Facebook for the names of some of the most commonly prescribed pain medications pointed to multiple vendors selling Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Percocet and other similar drugs.
This illicit marketing persists three months after NBC News highlighted the problem, and weeks after President Donald Trump declared opioid addiction a public health emergency.
The following screen shots show how sellers are using both Facebook videos and text posts to market these drugs illegally.
This content is not hard to find as long as you know what you’re looking for.
For example, if you type in the name of various opiates followed by the phrase “for sell,” you can find information that won’t be revealed by typing in “for sale” instead.
Here’s a post we found on November 13 with a Facebook search for “roxycodone,hydrocodone,oxycodone pills for sell.”
These posts can evade detection on Facebook for months. For example, we conducted a search on November 13 for “Oxycodone 30 mg for sell.” The results included a Facebook post dated Sept. 9, which was still online.
When CNBC notified Facebook of these posts, the company said it would remove them. However, 12 hours later many similar posts were still available. The company told CNBC:
Anyone can report content to