33 States in the US File Lawsuit Against Meta, Alleging Harm to Minors
Meta Platforms Inc. is facing lawsuits from 33 U.S. states for allegedly harming the mental well-being of young individuals due to the addictive characteristics of their social media platforms.
On Tuesday, a lawsuit was filed in a federal court in Oakland, California, claiming that Meta intentionally incorporated addictive elements into its social media platforms, Instagram and Facebook. It also accuses the company of gathering information from children under the age of 13 without their parents’ permission, which goes against federal regulations.
According to the complaint, studies have revealed a connection between the usage of Meta’s social media platforms by young individuals and various negative consequences such as depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, disruption of academic performance and daily activities.
In 2021, Meta’s investigation revealed that the company was aware of the harmful impact Instagram can have on teenagers, particularly girls. The filing was made in response to this finding.
According to Meta’s 2021 research, 13.5% of adolescent females reported that Instagram exacerbates suicidal ideation, while 17% stated that it worsens eating disorders.
In response to the lawsuit, Meta stated that they have already implemented more than 30 tools to assist teenagers and their families.
The company expressed disappointment that the attorneys general did not work collaboratively with industry companies to establish appropriate standards for the numerous apps used by teens. They stated that the chosen approach is not productive.
Meta, along with other social media companies, is currently facing backlash and legal disputes. Lawsuits have also been filed against TikTok, owned by ByteDance, and YouTube, owned by Google.
There are efforts in place to safeguard minors on social media platforms, but they can be bypassed with relative ease. For example, there is a federal regulation prohibiting children under the age of 13 from creating accounts.
Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, has emphasized the risks that social media poses for children. He has stated that urgent measures must be taken to safeguard kids from the negative impacts of social media.
Along with the 33 states that have filed lawsuits, it is expected that nine more state attorneys general will also join in and file lawsuits with similar claims.
Part of the data in this document was sourced from The Associated Press and Reuters.