State Attorney General Investigating Effects of Instagram on Children

A group of state attorneys general is investigating the photo-sharing platform Instagram and its effects on children and young adults, after its parent company Facebook — now called the meta platform — has cited physical and mental health threats to young people. About internal research ignored.

The investigation is led by a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general of California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont. This is first followed by damages newspaper reports by The Wall Street Journal, based on the company’s own research, which found that the company was aware of the harms that Instagram poses to teens – especially teenage girls. May be due to mental health and body image issues.

Since those first reports, a consortium of news organizations including The Associated Press have published their own findings based on leaked documents from whistleblower Frances Haugen, who testified before Congress and a British parliamentary committee on what they found. .

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

Investigating targets, among other things, the technology used by Meta to keep young people on its platform – and the amount of time spent on Instagram – could be causing damage.

In a statement, Meta spokeswoman Liza Crenshaw called the allegations “false” and said they displayed a “deep misunderstanding of the facts.”

Crenshaw said in the statement, “Challenges in protecting young people online affect the entire industry, but we have led the industry in helping and supporting those struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-injury and eating disorders.” Is.”

The state investigation follows Monday’s announcement that Ohio’s largest public employee pension fund sued Meta, alleging it deliberately made public aware of the negative effects of its social platforms and the algorithms that run them. broke federal securities law by misleading.

The Ohio Public Employees Retirement System lawsuit claims Facebook buried uncomfortable findings about how the company managed those algorithms as well as what steps it was taking to protect the public.

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