Huge number of states sue Facebook for being ‘addictive to children’

By Bob Unruh

(Pexels)
(Pexels)

Multiple lawsuits by a coalition of attorneys general from across the 50 states accuse Facebook parent Meta of deliberately choosing to make its social media programs addictive to children.

A report in Courthouse News explains the allegations come from California AG Rob Bonta and 32 others in one lawsuit alone.

The case in U.S. District Court in California charges Meta Platform Inc. and its platforms, Facebook and Instagram, “designed” the software to be “addictive to children and teens.”

In doing that, they allegedly violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, California’s False Advertising Law and California’s Unfair Competition law.

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“Meta has been harming our children and teens, cultivating addictions to boost corporate profits,” Bonta charged. “With today’s lawsuit, we are drawing the line. We must protect our children and we will not back down from this fight. It’s a team effort across many states to do the right thing here.”

Nine other attorneys general filed individual lawsuits, meaning the issue has attracted the attention of 42 states already.

The report noted Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti charged the companies with using sophisticated designs to “maximize the addictive nature of Facebook and Instagram,” the report said.

“These products are hurting kids, and we know that the company was well aware of the effects its products were having on kids,” he said.

Criticisms also came from New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella who reported there’s evidence almost half of his state’s high school children have had feelings of sadness or hopelessness, and Colorado AG Phil Weiser who said society “need[s] to be acting to put people’s mental health over the profits of companies.”

The cases charge Meta’s business model focuses on pushing users to spend as much time as possible on the software, including through the use of “psychologically manipulative platform features” and releasing “misleadingly low rates of user harms.”

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