More than 40 US states are suing Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta, alleging that the company’s platforms are harmful to children and pose complex mental health issues.
The lawsuit focuses on Facebook and Instagram, which are described as “manipulative and exploitative.” The states allege that Meta intentionally designed its platform to get young people addicted to it and increase their mental health problems.
They cite a number of studies, including Mehta’s own, that have shown links between young people’s use of Facebook and Instagram and health problems such as depression and anxiety.
Profit over children’s health
According to the New York Times reportled by Colorado and California joint litigation33 states filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California for violations of consumer protection laws.
They argued that the social media giant not only misled users about the safety of its platforms, but also intentionally and unfairly ensnared children. Separate lawsuits with similar allegations were filed by the District of Columbia and eight other states.
according to Zdonetthe core of the allegations against Meta revolve around the company’s practice of prioritizing profits over the well-being of its users, especially children.
Filings show Meta exploits young users for profit This is done through a variety of means, including increasing engagement, data collection, misleading advertising of safety features, promoting unhealthy social expectations, sleep patterns, and body image.
“Meth has preyed on an entire generation of young people for profit,” said Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell of Massachusetts, one of eight states and the District of Columbia that filed the lawsuit.
It is also alleged that Facebook and Instagram violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Regulation (COPPA) by collecting personal information without parental consent when marketing these platforms to young adults.
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Another thorny issue raised in the lawsuit is how meta’s algorithms, which are considered exploitative and predatory, work or influence the content shown in the feed. Not much has been made public regarding its influence.
According to USA Today, Meta’s algorithms release the “pleasure chemical” dopamine in a way that makes young users “repeatedly engage with the platform like slot machine gamblers.”
This is claimed to have a direct impact on mental health and body image concerns, especially among teenage girls.
According to the filing, Meta’s design is designed to induce fear of missing out (FOMO) with features such as “infinite scrolling,” near-constant notifications, stories, and reels. “They deliberately exploited young people’s still-developing brains and adolescent vulnerabilities.” For young users.
These issues didn’t start today, they surfaced in 2021 following Facebook’s admission. Whistleblower Frances Haugen. Haugen released a collection of internal Facebook documents, known as the Facebook Documents, that are said to show that Meta continues to prioritize profits over the public interest.
Furthermore, these records suggest that Mehta was aware of Instagram’s negative impact on young people’s mental health, body image, anxiety, and depression.
In response to these concerns, the U.S. Surgeon General has issued social media health advisories for U.S. teens. Lawmakers and legal experts are grappling with how to protect children in the age of big technology.
The federal lawsuit now has the support of 33 U.S. attorneys general who are joining forces to combat online harm to children.
“As major tobacco and e-cigarette companies have done in the past, Meth chose to maximize profits at the expense of public health, especially the youngest…” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a statement. He chose to endanger his health.”
Weiser recalled past lawsuits against industries such as Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. The lawsuit had significant legal ramifications and financial penalties.
Focus on technology, but not child protection
In recent years, an increasing number of lawsuits have been filed to improve the safety of children on the Internet. Big tech companies including Microsoft, Amazon, Google, YouTube, Amazon, and Meta are being sued in the US and EU for allegedly violating online child protection laws.
Additionally, TikTok faces ongoing legal issues related to child safety, with 46 U.S. attorneys general launching investigations into whether the social media platform violates consumer protection laws in 2022. .
The latest lawsuit against meth shows that teens and children’s inability to regulate themselves has “serious and alarming negative effects on the brain development and mental health of teen users.” ing.
The lawsuit also notes that the number of high school girls who have considered suicide has increased to 30% by 2022, compared to 19% 10 years ago when Instagram was launched. Last year, the parents of a 19-year-old girl sued Mehta, accusing their daughter of sexually assaulting them. obsessed with instagram He then developed an eating disorder and suicidal thoughts.