State attorneys general are investigating whether Instagram’s parent company violated consumer protection laws by promoting the social media app to young users despite knowing its use is associated with negative health effects.
Background: The investigation, announced Thursday, comes after Facebook, now under the parent name Meta, has experienced weeks of backlash over its impact on kids and teens following a document leak by a company whistleblower that included internal research showing the negative effect of the company’s platforms on young users.
“Doesn’t make a difference if you call it Instagram, Facebook, or Meta, the fact still remains the same: These social media platforms are extremely dangerous and have been proven to cause both physical and mental harm in young people,” New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) said in a statement. “Time and again, Mark Zuckerberg and the companies he run have put profits over safety, but our investigation seeks to end that behavior.
Several states: The effort is bipartisan, with attorneys generals from Massachusetts, California, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont involved in leading the probe.
A Meta spokesperson said “these accusations are false and demonstrate a deep misunderstanding of the facts,” and touted features the platform has put in place to help users “who might be dealing with negative social comparisons or body image issue.”