Meta is being sued in 33 states for addictive features targeting children

The federal lawsuit accuses Meta of putting features in Facebook and Instagram designed to keep young users online.


Meta has long been under scrutiny for its management of Facebook and Instagram, two of the most popular social media platforms in the world. Now, the company has found itself under fresh legal fire regarding addicting features on the apps. Multiple Attorneys General have filed a lawsuit against Meta, alleging the company of implementing features designed to get children addicted to their social media platforms.

The news of the latest Meta lawsuit came out today as legal papers were officially filed. Some of the states that Meta is being sued in are New York, California, Colorado, and Washington. The report alleges that Meta carefully designed its algorithm and uses alerts to keep young users coming back to their apps, encouraging addictive behavior. The group has also pointed out how likes and filters can poorly affect the mental health of young users.

The Facebook mobile app on a smartphone screen.

“We share 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,” Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement to CNBC. “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.”

“While Meta has publicly denied and downplayed these harmful effects, it cannot credibly plead ignorance,” wrote New York Attorney General Letitia James. “Meta’s own internal research documents show its awareness that its products harm young users. Indeed, internal studies that Meta commissioned – and kept private until they were leaked by a whistleblower and publicly reported – reveal that Meta has known for years about these serious harms associated with young users’ time spent on its platforms.”

This is just the latest instance of the crackdown on social media companies in regard to how they treat children on the platform. Earlier this year, TikTok introduced a daily one-hour screen time limit for teenagers after pressure from government bodies.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

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