Meta, the tech giant owned by billionaire Mark Zuckerberg was sued by 40 American states on 24 October. The lawsuit was filed over claims that the company is harming children's mental health by feeding them harmful content for making profits.
Along with West Virginia, Arizona, New York, and other states, more than 30 states filed a federal lawsuit against Meta. Attorneys general from other states, including Tennessee and Washington, D.C., also filed comparable lawsuits in state courts on 24 October, bringing the total number of states involved in a fight against Meta to 40.
“Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens," the lawsuit from the states said. “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."
According to Meta Platforms, it is committed to help young people and their families be safe online. It claims to have released more than 30 solutions for doing the same.
Former Meta employee Frances Haugen came forward in 2021 as a whistleblower and said that the business was intentionally preying on impressionable young people to increase profits.
He discussed an internal Instagram study that discovered evidence of the despair and anxiety many adolescent females using the photo-sharing platform were experiencing in relation to issues with their bodies.
Haugen's testimony before Congress has also been referenced in the complaint.
The lawsuit also makes reference to kid-friendly Facebook and Instagram profiles, including those for Lego and Hot Wheels toys as well as Bluey and PAW Patrol cartoons.
Meta's subsidiaries Facebook and Instagram require parental authorization from users under the age of 13 in order to create an account, but the lawsuit claimed that Meta obtains personal data from users under the legal age limit who haven't given the required consent.
Numerous lawsuits have been filed against Snap, TikTok, and Google, alleging that these companies are to blame for the social media addiction that has caused these kids and young adults to experience anxiety, despair, eating disorders, and insomnia.