More than half of the states that make up America have filed legal action against Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta on claims that the company used features via both Instagram and Facebook to not only keep children engaged but reportedly get them addicted to its platforms.
According to Complex, Meta is currently facing lawsuits from 41 states with Colorado, Tennessee, and Massachusetts leading a group of 33 states in a join suit. Separate lawsuits were initiated by the District of Columbia and eight other states.
“Nonetheless, Meta has continued to deny and downplay these harmful effects to the public and to promote its platforms as safe for young users,” continued the filing.
What’s more, the claimants also believe that Meta knowingly used algorithms to push children into harmful content and features such as “infinite scroll” along with constant notifications to reel in young users, thus, leaving them addicted to various platforms.
The complaint also accused the company of violating consumer protection laws and federal privacy laws put in place for minors.
“Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens,” the filing continued. “Meta has repeatedly misled the public about the substantial dangers of its Social Media Platforms. It has concealed the ways in which these platforms exploit and manipulate its most vulnerable consumers: teenagers and children.”
A Meta spokesperson expressed the company’s concerns with the allegations.
“We share the attorney general’s commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families,” a spokesperson said on behalf of the company, which owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. “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.”
More recently, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy opened up about concerns with children using social media, even noting that the minimum age of 13 is still “too early” for them to be on the platforms.
In May, he circled back on his early 2023 comments, stating that social media is a “profound risk” for youth, suggesting that parents place restrictions on its use.