Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta, formerly Facebook, is being sued by 42 U.S. states in multiple lawsuits accusing the tech giant of harming young people’s mental health with addictive Facebook and Instagram features, according to a report by Associated Press.
In one lawsuit, 33 states accuse Meta of knowingly designing Facebook and Instagram features that addict children and teens to the platforms. In addition, nine other attorneys general are filing suits in their states, bringing the total number to 42.
The complaint, filed against Meta Platforms Inc. in federal court in California, claims the company consistently collects data on children under 13 years of age, without their parents’ consent, which is a violation of federal law. It also accuses the tech giant of damaging young people’s mental health and contributing to the youth mental health crisis.
The lawsuit states, in part:
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.
“Kids and teenagers are suffering from record levels of poor mental health and social media companies like Meta are to blame,” New York Attorney General Letitia James said. “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.”