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US States are Suing Meta for Harming Mental Health of Children

Owner's Profile

Sunil Ambalavelil

Published on October 27, 2023, 09:03:18


Meta, Facebook

Meta Platform is facing a legal battle as lots of U.S. states, including California and New York, have filed lawsuits. The states have accused Meta of intentionally designing features on Instagram and Facebook that augment addiction in children and contribute to the youth mental health crisis. 

In a lawsuit filed by 33 states in federal court in California, it is alleged that Meta regularly collects data from children under 13 without obtaining parental consent, which is a clear violation of federal law. Furthermore, nine state attorneys general are individually pursuing legal action in their respective jurisdictions, bringing the total number of states taking legal measures to 41, along with Washington.

The extensive federal lawsuit has emerged because of a comprehensive inquiry lead by a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from states, including California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont. The legal action against Meta is a direct response to incriminating revelations initially brought to light by The Wall Street Journal.

The report disclosed the company's awareness of the detrimental effects that Instagram can have on teenagers, particularly teenage girls, concerning their mental health and body image. One internal study highlighted distressing statistics, with 13.5% of teenage girls reporting that Instagram exacerbated thoughts of suicide, and 17% indicating that it increased eating disorders.

Meta, in a released statement, expressed its alignment with the attorneys general's dedication to ensuring that teenagers have a secure and beneficial online experience. The company emphasized its proactive efforts in this regard, noting the implementation of more than 30 tools aimed at providing support to teenagers and their families.

Meta went on to express its disappointment in the attorneys general's approach, stating that rather than collaborating constructively with industry entities to establish well-defined and age-appropriate guidelines for the multitude of apps that teenagers utilize, the attorneys general have opted for the current course of action.

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