Meta Sued By Dozens Of US States For Causing Youth Mental Health Crisis

The state attorneys general argue that Meta unlawfully misled the public on the safety of its products.


(The Verge) Dozens of states sued Meta on Tuesday, accusing the company of putting profit ahead of the safety of its young users.

The lawsuit, filed in a California federal court, argues that Meta unlawfully misled the public about the harms its products, like Facebook and Instagram, could impose on children and teens. By implementing a business model meant to maximize time on the platform, Meta contributed to a youth mental health crisis, the complaint says.


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

The complaint alleges that Meta knowingly rolled out features and platform incentives that promote harmful behaviors to young users, including allowing “Likes” on posts and failing to remove content related to disordered eating and bullying.

Meta contested the allegations. “We share the attorneys general’s commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced more than 30 tools to support teens and their families,” Liza Crenshaw, Meta spokesperson, said in a statement responding to the lawsuit. “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.”

Following leaks from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen in 2021, Meta has faced criticism from lawmakers and civil society over how its products impact youth safety. One of these leaks pointed to internal Facebook studies that found Instagram undermined the confidence of young users, and affected users weren’t logging off. The complaint cites Haugen’s leaks as part of its claims against Meta.

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