Meta sued by US states for allegedly harming mental health of young people

Posted: 26th October 2023

(Reuters) -Dozens of U.S. states are suing Meta Platforms and its Instagram unit, accusing them of contributing to a youth mental health crisis through the addictive nature of their social media platforms.

In a complaint filed in the Oakland, California, federal court on Tuesday, 33 states including California and Illinois said Meta, which also operates Facebook, has repeatedly misled the public about the substantial dangers of its platforms and knowingly induced young children and teenagers into addictive and compulsive social media use.

“Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens,” the complaint said. “Its motive is profit.”

The lawsuit seeks a variety of remedies, including substantial civil penalties.

The Meta lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal actions against social media companies on behalf of children and teens. ByteDance’s TikTok and Google’s YouTube are also the subjects of the hundreds of lawsuits filed on behalf of children and school districts about the addictiveness of social media.

Meta said that it had sought to make young people safe online.

“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,” Meta said in a statement.

Much of the focus on Meta stems from the release of documents in 2021 that showed that Meta had data showing that Instagram, which began as a photo-sharing app, was addictive and worsens body image issues for some teen girls.

“Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens,” the complaint said. “Its motive is profit.”

The lawsuit seeks a variety of remedies, including substantial civil penalties.

The Meta lawsuit is the latest in a string of legal actions against social media companies on behalf of children and teens. ByteDance’s TikTok and Google’s YouTube are also the subjects of the hundreds of lawsuits filed on behalf of children and school districts about the addictiveness of social media.

Meta said that it had sought to make young people safe online.

“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,” Meta said in a statement.

Much of the focus on Meta stems from the release of documents in 2021 that showed that Meta had data showing that Instagram, which began as a photo-sharing app, was addictive and worsens body image issues for some teen girls.

Source: Meta sued by US states for allegedly harming mental health of young people (msn.com)

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