Meta files lawsuit over features connecting children to Instagram, Facebook

Meta files lawsuit over features connecting children to Instagram, Facebook

It is unusual for so many states to come together Sue a tech giant To the detriment of the consumer. The coordination shows that states are prioritizing the issue of children and online safety and combining legal resources to fight meta, as states have previously done for cases against big tobacco and big pharma companies .

Lawmakers around the world are trying to rein in platforms like Instagram and TikTok on behalf of children. Over the past few years, Britain, followed by states like California and Utah, have passed laws that would require social media platforms to promote privacy and security protections for minors online. The Utah law would, among other things, require social media apps to turn off notifications for minors by default overnight to reduce disruptions to children’s sleep.

Regulators have also tried to hold social media companies accountable for potential harm to young people. Last year, a coroner in Britain ruled that Instagram had contributed to the death of a teenager who took her own life after viewing thousands of self-harm images on the platform.

States began investigating the potentially harmful effects of Instagram on youth several years ago as public concerns over cyberbullying and teen mental health grew.

In early 2021, Facebook announced that it planned to develop “Instagram Kids”, a version of its popular app aimed at users under the age of 13. concerned law maker And children’s group,

Shortly thereafter, a group of attorneys general from more than 40 states wrote A letter to Mark Zuckerberg, the company’s chief executive. In it, he said that Facebook has “historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms” and urged the company to abandon its plans for Instagram Kids.

Concerns intensified among the attorney general in September 2021 after former Facebook employee Francis Haugen. Leaked company research This shows that the company knew that its platforms posed mental health risks to youth. Facebook then announced that it was stopping development of Instagram Kids.

That November, a bipartisan group of attorneys general, including coloradoMassachusetts and new Hampshireannounced a joint investigation into the impact – and potentially harmful effects – of Instagram on young people.

Under local and state consumer protection laws, the Attorney General is seeking financial penalties for Meta. The District of Columbia and the state will also seek injunctive relief from the court to force Meta to stop using certain technology features that the states believe have harmed young users.

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