In the complaint filed Tuesday, attorneys general in 42 states, including California and New York, say Meta intentionally leads minors to engage in addictive and compulsive use of social media.
Dozens of states in the US have sued Meta, which runs both Facebook and Instagram, because, according to the indictment, the company intentionally designed the operation of its social platforms in a way that made children and teens dependent on them. Thus, the Zuckerbergs are putting young people’s mental health at risk. He writes Reuters.
For example, the complaint filed in federal court in Oakland, California, alleges that Meta uses powerful and unprecedented techniques to trap youth and teens for profit. Juveniles are an ideal target group for various companies that advertise on social media, because people at this age are particularly vulnerable to influence, so products will be purchased as adults due to the brand loyalty developed at this time.
However, the complaint filed by prosecutors in various states included not only the unfair business strategy, but also the negative impact of social media sites on children’s psychology. Lawyers indicated research into this
The use of Meta’s social media sites has been linked to “depression, anxiety, insomnia, disruption of education and daily life, and a number of other negative consequences.”
Most of the accusations are not new. Meta came into the spotlight early in 2021, when Frances Hogan, a former employee who left the company, filed documents such as published, which revealed that the company knew that Instagram, which started as a photo-sharing app, was addictive and exacerbated body image issues in some teenage girls. According to internal surveys obtained by Hogan, Meta found that Instagram increases suicidal thoughts in 13.5 percent of teenage girls, and that eating disorders worsen in 17 percent of them.
The lawsuit, filed by 42 states, alleges that Meta is trying to get young people to spend as much time as possible on social media, despite the company’s awareness of children’s sensitivity to feedback in the form of likes. According to prosecutors
The algorithms used on the sites exploit the dopamine reactions of young users and create an addictive cycle.
In addition, Meta is accused of violating the law prohibiting the collection of data from children under 13 years of age. In response to the lawsuit, Meta said she was disappointed that prosecutors chose this path rather than working with companies to set clear, age-appropriate standards.
Accordingly, the company could face fines ranging from $1,000 to $50,000 for violating various state laws, an amount that easily doubles given that millions of young children and teens use Instagram.
(Cover image: Getty Images/Peter Cade)