State Attorney General Launches Investigation into Impact of Meta-owned Instagram on Children

The attorney general said it would look into whether, by continuing to offer and promote Instagram despite knowledge of the potential harm, Meta violated consumer protection laws and “put the public at risk.” are not.” The states involved include California, Florida, Kentucky and Vermont.

“Facebook, now Meta, failed to protect young people on its platforms and instead chose to ignore or, in some cases, mitigate known practices that pose a threat.” real threat to physical and mental health – exploitation of children for profit,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, who co-led the investigation, said in a statement. She added that the union hopes to “dig into how this company interacts with young users, identify any illegal practices, and put an end to these abuses for good.” .”

Meta (Facebook) Spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement that the attorney general’s allegations were untrue and said they “represent a profound misunderstanding of the facts.” He also noted that the company plans to roll out features to help teens regulate their Instagram use, such as Reminder “Take a break”, which was announced in October amid intense scrutiny.

“While the challenges of protecting young people online affect the entire industry, we have led the industry in combating bullying and supporting those struggling with suicidal ideation, self-injury, and self-injury. and eating disorders,” the statement read. “By default, we continue to develop parental supervision controls and are looking for ways to provide a more age-appropriate experience for teens.”

Senator Calls on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to Testify About Instagram and Children
The investigation is the latest escalation of legal pressure on Meta regarding findings from leaked internal documents, known as the Facebook Papers. Earlier this week, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost File a lawsuit against the company alleging that it misled the public about its algorithm and the harm its apps could do to users, at the expense of shareholders when those things were revealed. (Meta says the suit has no value.)
Senator Richard Blumenthal also Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg asked to testify about Instagram’s influence on children.
The Wall Street Journal first report in September on what the company’s own documents and research show potential harms to young people from its apps, and said Facebook knows Instagram is a “toxic substance” for girls. teen. In an internal report from 2019 on the mental health effects of Instagram cited by the Journal and reviewed by CNN Business, the company’s researchers said “we make body image a problem.” should be worse for 1 in 3 teenage girls.” Meta also denied the Journal’s report and said its apps did more harm than good.
Following the Journal’s report, a Senate subcommittee known as hearing with Facebook’s global head of safety Antigone Davis, where lawmakers grilled her about Instagram’s influence on children. Davis said the company is “looking to release more research” that she suggests could paint a different picture of the platform. Haugen has also testified to lawmakers that she believes Meta’s platforms “harm children, divide, and undermine our democracy.”

The company announced it was pausing plans to develop a version of Instagram designed for kids at the end of September, amid a failure of the Journal’s report.

“While we were faced with the need to develop this experience, we have decided to put this project on hold,” Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, wrote in a blog post. blog post at that time. “This will give us time to work with parents, professionals, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, while demonstrating the value and how important this project is to today’s online teens.”


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