U.S. states sue Meta for hooking young people to its platforms

A group of 41 states and the District of Columbia sued Meta on Tuesday, accusing the tech giant of unfairly hooking children to its platforms including Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook, and Messenger, and pushing them towards harmful content.

Led by Colorado and California, the joint lawsuit was filed by 33 states in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. Eight other states and the District of Columbia filed separate suits the same day.

The lawsuits, filed in both federal and state courts, allege that Meta has violated consumer protection laws with “deceptive acts or practices” and that the company has “harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens.” Meta is accused of intentionally getting young people addicted to its platforms with features like “infinite scroll” and a barrage of notifications.

The states also say that Meta consciously markets products to users under the age of 13, who are legally not permitted to use the social media platforms as decreed by both Meta and federal law. And the company is also accused of being in breach of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) for “unlawfully collecting the personal data of its youngest users without permission”.

In addition, the lawsuit also accused Meta of being “evasive about the company’s research” and accused the company of misleading, downplaying, or denying researched effects of its platforms on young users.

“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,” reads the complaint.

“Children are particularly susceptible to addictive technologies, and Meta has exploited these vulnerabilities,” said Washington Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb, who filed the suit in the DC Superior Court, “putting its quest for advertising revenue over the psychological and emotional well-being of young people.”

Phil Weiser, Colorado’s Attorney General, compared Meta to the likes of Big Tobacco and vaping companies, saying the company is “specifically harming the health of the youngest among us.”

The lawsuit against Meta is a product of a longer, nationwide investigation into the company, in which states including Colorado, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire examined Instagram’s approach to young consumers and the “physical and mental health harms” associated with its usage.

It seems Big Tech is facing a wider legal crackdown for its effect on younger consumers. In early October, the state of Utah sued TikTok for using manipulative tactics to get teens compulsively addicted to its platform.

Source link




  • Loading
  • You May Also Like