Jun 4, 2018

Illegal drug trade thrives on social media

Bags of heroin laced with fentanyl. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Despite pressure from Congress and the Food and Drug Administration, and various efforts to try to crack down, tech companies still have a big problem with illicit pharmacies. BuzzFeed News documents just how easy it is to find drugs online — everything from Adderall to fentanyl.

How it works: The companies say they have tools in place to scan for illegal pharmacies, but those tools are easily thwarted. For example, Facebook’s main search feature filters out a lot of illegal pharmacies — but searching for photos and events turns up plenty of them.

  • BuzzFeed says it was able to easily find illegal drug sales advertised on every major social network: “Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google+, WhatsApp, Reddit, and even 4chan.”

Key quote: “Best-case scenario, you get your credit card stolen. Worst-case scenario, you get counterfeit cancer medicine," Libby Baney, the founder and executive director of the Alliance for Safe Online Pharmacies, told BuzzFeed.

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House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

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