33 US States Sue Meta, Allege Instagram Behind Depression in Teens: What We Know

The use of social media has been associated with significant psychological impact among children and teenagers.

2 min read
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Various Meta platforms, including Instagram, are being sued by 33 states in the United States – including California, Michigan, New York – accusing them of triggering mental health crises in youth.

The Big Point: Meta is being taken to court on the accusation that the users are being 'misled about the potential dangers' that the use of its platforms can have – and that it has knowingly influenced children and teens into its addictive use. 

The complaint filed in the Oakland, California Federal Court read:

“Over the past decade, Meta has profoundly altered the psychological and social realities of a generation of young Americans. 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.”

Meta said that it was “disappointed” with the report.

"Instead of working productively with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards for the many apps teens use, the attorneys general have chosen this path," said the company according to a report by Reuters.

Why Does it Matter?

The use of social media has been associated with significant psychological impact among children and teenagers.

“Research has shown that young people’s use of Meta’s Social Media Platforms is associated with depression, anxiety, insomnia, interference with education and daily life, and many other negative outcomes,” read the complaint, according to media organisations.

Allegations have also been made that that internal research of Meta, has made them aware of the harm that the use of their social media platforms can do. 

The Larger Context: According to a Reuters report, in the past as well other companies such as Meta, ByteDance's TikTok and Google's YouTube, have faced lawsuits against them by children and school districts – all related to addictiveness.

According to reports, Meta is likely to face civil penalties of $1,000 to $50,000 for each violation of various state laws. This could, however, increase, given the millions of young children and teenagers who use these social media platforms.

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Topics:  Social Media   Meta 

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