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US States Sue Meta Over Youth Mental Health

by EJ_Team
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Dozens of U.S. states, including California and Illinois, have filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms and its Instagram unit. They accuse the tech giant of contributing to a youth mental health crisis through the addictive nature of their social media platforms.

Allegations of Misleading the Public

The complaint alleges that Meta, which also operates Facebook, has repeatedly misled the public about the significant dangers of its platforms. It further claims that Meta knowingly induced young children and teenagers into addictive and compulsive social media use.

Research cited in the complaint links young people’s use of Meta’s social media platforms to negative outcomes, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, and interference with education and daily life.

Amid a Wave of Lawsuits

This lawsuit is the latest in a series of legal actions against social media companies regarding the impact on children and teenagers. Companies like TikTok and YouTube are also subjects of numerous lawsuits about social media addiction.

The lawsuit accuses Meta of harnessing powerful technologies to entice and engage youth while prioritizing profit.

Remedies and Meta’s Response

The legal action seeks various remedies, including substantial civil penalties. Meta has expressed disappointment, suggesting that a collaborative approach to create age-appropriate standards would be more productive.

Focus on Instagram and Dopamine Manipulation

Much of the attention on Meta is related to the release of 2021 documents revealing that Instagram, initially a photo-sharing app, could be addictive and exacerbate body image issues for some teenage girls. The lawsuit alleges that Meta intentionally designs its platforms to manipulate dopamine responses in young users, encouraging addictive engagement.

The lawsuit also claims that Meta violated laws prohibiting the collection of data from children under the age of 13.

Addressing Regulatory Gaps

The legal action aims to address gaps left by the U.S. Congress’s inability to pass new online protections for children, despite prolonged discussions.

Expanding Harmful Practices

The lawsuit also suggests that Meta is extending what states consider harmful practices into virtual reality, including Meta’s Horizon Worlds platform, as well as communication apps like WhatsApp and Messenger.

Expansive Legal Action

California Attorney General Rob Bonta and several other states’ attorneys general have filed related lawsuits, and more states are expected to join, bringing the total number of suing states to 42. Social media companies already face hundreds of lawsuits related to children and school district’s claims about the detrimental effects of their platforms.

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Education Journalist endeavours to bring this forward to mentor individuals or an organization and use their learning and experiences to pave their path.

Education Journalist endeavours to bring this forward to mentor individuals or an organization and use their learning and experiences to pave their path.


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