For those who say there is no e-commerce application for social media the drug dealing population of Instagram stand as a stark, if weird, counter-example. These enterprising black market enthusiasts present a convenient online marketplace for pot, heroine, cocaine and pretty much anything else the recreational pharmaceutical market has to offer.
Online black markets are certainly not new—but unlike dark web hubs like Silk Road II the Instagram black market don’t require any specialized cyber-trekking, it’s all out there in the public square.
And likely not going anywhere. Though some of the internet’s less intelligent drug dealers have gotten themselves popped by dealing drugs via their easily geolocated cell phones—smart drug dealers are using Instagram much more cleverly.
Venture Beat offer a complete explanation of the technological process involved, but essentially it boils down to using a burner phone, a remote and encrypted web connection, a fake IP address and sandboxing the whole operation in an operating system within an operating system housed on a burner computer. When combined with bitcoin or prepaid cards, it is pretty easy to sell drugs to Instagram’s 200 million monthly users
Instagram parent company Facebook’s solution for the drug dealing problem so far is to very firmly ask that people not use the service for illegal activity. Facebook also closes down accounts if they are flagged for illegal activity.