42 States Sue Meta Alleging Facebook, Instagram Have Addictive Features, Are Harmful to Children

42 States Sue Meta Alleging Facebook, Instagram Have Addictive Features, Are Harmful to Children

SAN FRANCISCO — Attorneys general for 42 U.S. states filed lawsuits Tuesday against Meta, alleging the company has knowingly implemented features in its Facebook and Instagram platforms in order to cause app use addiction among children.

Thirty-three states — both Republican and Democrat-led — filed a lawsuit in federal court in California, where Meta is headquartered. Nine more attorneys general filed lawsuits in their respective states.

According to an Associated Press report, the federal lawsuit “also claims that Meta routinely collects data on children under 13 without their parents’ consent, in violation of federal law.”

The complaint alleges that 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.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James went further in her rhetoric, claiming that Meta “has profited from children’s pain by intentionally designing its platforms with manipulative features that make children addicted to their platforms while lowering their self-esteem.”

Meta reacted to the lawsuits in a statement, stating the company is “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.”

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