Highlights

  • Over 40 US States sue Meta for deliberate platform addiction
  • Meta accused of manipulating youth, fuelling mental health crisis

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Meta faces legal heat from American States; accused of fueling mental health crisis in youth

The lawsuits accuse Meta of manipulating young users through dopamine responses, contributing to mental health issues in teenagers.

Meta faces legal heat from American States; accused of fueling mental health crisis in youth

Over 40 states in the United States have filed lawsuits against Meta, the parent company of popular social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. The states, including California and Illinois, allege that Meta deliberately designed features on Instagram and Facebook to addict children and teenagers, exacerbating the ongoing youth mental health crisis, as per the Business Standard report.

The lawsuits, filed in a federal court in Oakland, California, accuse Meta of deceptive conduct aimed at maximizing its financial gains. Meta allegedly misled the public about the substantial dangers of its social media platforms, using powerful technologies to engage and ensnare young users. The company is accused of intentionally designing its platforms to manipulate dopamine responses, creating an addictive cycle of engagement.

New York Attorney General Letitia James stated that social media companies like Meta are responsible for the record levels of poor mental health among children and teenagers. Meta's platforms have been linked to negative outcomes such as depression, anxiety, and interference with education, and daily life, reported AFP.

The federal lawsuit stems from an investigation by a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general, following the release of documents in 2021 revealing Meta's knowledge of Instagram's addictive nature and its impact on teen girls' mental health. Despite this, Meta allegedly continued to encourage prolonged social media use among teenagers, knowing that young brains are particularly susceptible to the need for approval through social media interactions.

Meta responded by expressing disappointment in the legal action, emphasizing its commitment to providing safe online experiences for teens. The company claimed to have introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families. However, the states argue that Meta's deliberate design choices have contributed significantly to the mental health challenges faced by young users.

Also Watch: South Korea fines OpenAI's ChatGPT and Meta Platform for data breaches and privacy violations

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