State Attorney Generals Will Investigate Instagram’s Effect on Children

November 19th, 2021 8:28 AM

Attorneys general from several states have decided to launch an investigation into the effects Instagram has on children who use the app.

The attorneys will investigate Meta’s outreach to young users as well as whether the company violated any consumer protection laws. It is believed that young users experience harm mentally and socially from extended use of social media apps like Instagram. 

The effort is bipartisan and includes Attorney generals from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.

"As adults, especially those of us who are parents, we need to realize that social media companies do everything they can to encourage our kids to be on their platforms for as long as possible and to get as much personal information about them as possible, that worries me, and it’s why attorneys general across the country need to use our authority under our consumer protection laws to investigate these social media platforms," Alan Wilson, the Republican Attorney General of South Carolina, said.

Rob Bonta, the Democratic Attorney General of California, said Meta has purposefully ignored the harmful effects users experience after extended use of the products. 

“For too long, Meta has ignored the havoc that Instagram is wreaking on the mental health and well-being of our children and teens,” Bonta said. “Enough is enough. We’ve undertaken this nationwide investigation to get answers about Meta’s efforts to promote the use of this social media platform to young Californians – and to determine if, in doing so, Meta violated the law.”

For its part, Meta said the allegations represent a “deep misunderstanding of the facts.”

“While challenges in protecting young people online impact the entire industry, we’ve led the industry in combating bullying and supporting people struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-injury, and eating disorders," Meta spokesperson Liz Crenshaw said in a statement.

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