Drug dealers have found a new territory within social media to peddle drugs to minors and schoolchildren in the United Kingdom, a Daily Mail investigation revealed on Monday. The criminals are using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to children and sell Class A drugs like cocaine and marijuana online.
A Daily Mail reporter, who posed as a teenage boy, found himself in the midst of a drug deal when a peddler tried selling him drugs calling it "banging Charlie" and "great weed". Charlie is a slang term for cocaine, which is being sold for £120.
Even when the reporter told the drug dealer that he was a school student, the peddler seemed least worried about it. Children as young as 13-year-olds are being targeted by the online peddling ring, Daily Mail reported.
Members of Parliament (UK) and campaigners have asked the social media giants to impose tougher laws to curb criminal activities involving drugs. They have blamed the networking sites for "aiding and abetting" the sale of drugs.
"We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online. Anything that is illegal offline should be illegal online. We encourage people to report [anything] concerning to the police as well as report such images to the app providers themselves," a government spokesperson told Daily Mail.
It is also reported that the campaigners have asked for security measures to be tightened on Facebook to detect and remove content with criminal intent. It is said that a security team of 20,000 would be deployed to deal with the growing concern of illegal online activity in the United Kingdom.
Drug dealers often use emoticons and hashtags to reach out to children. A popular hashtag that was found during the investigation happened was #weed4sale.
Cannabis with a wide range of selection from being homegrown to imported are being sold at £100 to £350 on various Facebook pages.
The social media sites have responded to the alarming situation and Instagram has urged users to report any activity involving minors buying drugs. Furthermore, Twitter has also asked its users not to use the site for illegal activities.