41 States Suing Meta for Effects of Addictive Social Media on Children

Meta is facing a large lawsuit from 41 US states and Washington, D.C., as the states are claiming the tech giant has intentionally been making social media platforms addictive for children and have thus been harming their mental health.

The lawsuit began with a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general investigating the programming and effects of the social media platforms. The suit was filed by 33 states in California federal courts and filed by 9 attorney generals in their own states.

The states claim that Meta violates federal law through the collection of data on children 13- years-old and under without parental consent. Meta has consistently maintained an age limit on their social media platforms, not allowing those under 13 years of age to create an account, however many kids have found their way around the very low-set hurdle.

The lawsuit alleges that Meta knows how addictive their platforms are and knows the mental health issues that Instagram alone brings to teenaged kids. The suit specifies that Meta has even conducted their own research proving that their platform particularly effects teenage girls, giving them insecurities about their bodies and creating mental health issues.

The lawsuit reads: “Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens. Its motive is profit, and in seeking to maximize its financial gains, 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.”

Multiple Attorneys General have spoken out since the lawsuit, airing out their complains and concerns about Meta. New York Attorney General, Letitia James, said that “Meta has profited from children’s pain by intentionally designing its platforms with manipulative features that make children addicted to their platforms while lowering their self-esteem.” Brian Schwalb, the Attorney General of Washington D.C. spoke about Meta saying: “They’re the worst of the worst when it comes to using technology to addict teenagers to social media, all in the furtherance of putting profits over people.” Rob Bonta, California Attorney General, said: “With today’s lawsuit, we are drawing the line.”

The states are looking for financial damages and restitution, along with Meta’s law-violating policies to come to an end.

Meta has responded to the lawsuit, playing empathetic and agreeing with the “commitment” to protecting the children. The statement says that Meta shares “the attorneys general’s commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families.” It went on to say: “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.”

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.