Meta Sued by 42 US States: Facebook, Instagram Addictive to Youth
A coalition of 42 U.S. state attorneys general from both political parties has filed lawsuits against Meta, alleging that the company’s Facebook and Instagram platforms are designed to be addictive and target young users.
The legal action, announced on Tuesday, represents a significant challenge to Meta and comes amidst other lawsuits the company is facing on similar issues, reports CNBC.
The federal suit, led by 33 states including New York, California, and Colorado, accuses Meta of designing algorithms and features that keep young users engaged for extended periods. These features include infinite scroll and notifications, which the attorneys general claim have negative impacts on teens’ mental health. The suit also alleges that Meta violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by collecting data on users under 13 without parental consent.
Nine additional states are filing lawsuits in their own jurisdictions. The states are seeking to halt what they consider to be Meta’s harmful practices and are also calling for penalties and restitution.
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti emphasized the bipartisan nature of the action, stating that the lawsuit “says something” about the importance of the issue at a time of significant political polarization in America.
Meta spokesperson Andy Stone expressed disappointment in the attorneys general’s approach, stating, “We’re disappointed that instead of working productively with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards for the many apps teens use, the attorneys general have chosen this path.”
The lawsuit against Meta is part of a broader, industry-wide investigation, according to the attorneys general, who last year also announced an investigation into TikTok over similar concerns related to child online safety.
We’ve long heard of studies that said social media apps are bad for children’s mental health. Looks like legislators are now taking a stand against Meta and its insanely popular apps Facebook and Instagram.