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33 States Sue Meta Alleging Social Media Platforms Fueled Youth Mental Health Crisis

   DailyWire.com
Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Dozens of U.S. states filed a lawsuit against Meta and its Instagram social media platform on Tuesday, accusing the multinational technology conglomerate of contributing to the mental health crisis in American youth by making them addicted to its products.

Attorneys general from 33 states, including California and New York, filed the complaint in the Northern District of California federal court, claiming Meta violated federal children’s online privacy and state consumer protection laws.

“Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens,” according to the 233-page complaint. “Its motive is profit.”

The lawsuit alleges that Meta has misled the public about the “substantial dangers” of its social media platforms by concealing its practices to make its “most vulnerable” consumers — teenagers and children — into addictive and compulsive social media users.

The states cited research that shows children’s use of Meta platforms is associated with “depression, anxiety, insomnia, interference with education and daily life, and many other negative outcomes.”

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory in May, citing a link between spending time on social media and the nation’s mental health crisis among the youth.

“I’m issuing this advisory because we’re in the middle of a youth mental health crisis, and I’m concerned that social media is contributing to the harms that kids are experiencing,” Murthy told The Hill.

According to a 2019 study, adolescents between the ages of 12 and 15 who spent over three hours on social media per day had double the risk of developing symptoms of depression and anxiety, and the blame should not be placed entirely on parents who attempt to manage a healthy dose of social media for their children.

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“It’s an unreasonable expectation because prior generations never had to experience and manage the rapidly evolving technology that fundamentally changed how kids thought about themselves, how they thought about their friendships, and how they saw the world,” said Murthy.

Meta said in a statement to outlets that it shares “the attorneys general’s commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families.”

“We’re disappointed that 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,” the company added.

Eight other attorneys general and the District of Columbia reportedly are filing separate lawsuits against Meta for allegedly violating state consumer protection laws, bringing the total number of states to 42.

If the states succeed, Meta could be forced to pay massive fines and change how it advertises and designs its platforms to the public.

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