Home Breaking News 42 US states sue Meta for teens mental health crisis

42 US states sue Meta for teens mental health crisis

Dozens of States in the United States have filed a suit against tech giant, Meta for the alleged harm the company has done to teenagers in the country.

The company, which is parent to several social media platforms including Instagram, and Facebook, was sued on Tuesday by 42 states in the US. The Attorneys General of the states claimed that the company has contributed to the mental health crises facing young people in the country, ABC News reports.

A class suit was filed by 33 states in a California federal court, while the nine other states sued the company in their respective jurisdictions. Some of the states dragging Meta to court include California, New York, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin and several others.

The states accused Meta of violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting data on children under the age of 13 without their parents’ consent.

The filing read in part, “Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens. Its motive is profit, and in seeking to maximize its financial gains, Meta has repeatedly misled the public about the substantial dangers of its social media platforms.

It has concealed the ways in which these platforms exploit and manipulate its most vulnerable consumers: teenagers and children.”

The states further alleged that the social media applications are designed by Meta to keep teenagers and young kids addicted to the platforms. They claimed that this effect was achieved through the apps’ algorithms, numerous alerts, notifications and infinite scroll features on feed pages.

Responding to the suit, the company expressed disappointment at the action stating that it also shared the states’ “commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online.”

“We’re disappointed that instead of working productively with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards for the many apps teens use, the attorneys general have chosen this path,” the Tuesday statement read.

This action comes two years after a report by The Wall Street Journal in 2021 which revealed that the company was aware of the harm Instagram causes teenagers in terms of body image and mental health. Meta itself had carried out an internal study which showed that 13.5% of teen girls using the platform stated that it makes thoughts of suicide worse while 17 per cent attributed worsening eating disorders to their usage of the app.

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