Eleven American states, both Democratic and Republican, have launched a joint investigation to establish Meta, if the parent company of Instagram has deliberately ignored the danger of the social network on the physical and mental health of the youngest in order not to give up on profits.
According to the Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, one of the promoters of the investigation, the goal is to understand whether the holding company that owns Facebook has violated consumer protection laws and therefore could be guilty of “putting its users in danger. “.
The role of Frances Haugen
This is yet another tile for the group led by Mark Zuckerberg, whose reputation has been heavily tarnished in recent weeks by the revelations of whistleblower Frances Haugen. The woman, a former Facebook employee, disclosed to the US Congress and American newspapers some documents collected when she was still working in the company.
From the reports released it would emerge in a “clear” way that the social network giant has been aware for a long time, through its own research, of the psychological damage caused by Instagram among children and adolescents.
The accusations of the prosecutors
“Facebook, now called Meta, has failed to protect young people on its platforms”, on the contrary, “has chosen to ignore and in some cases reinforce practices that represent a real threat to the physical and mental health of young people, by exploiting kids just for profit, ”Healey said.
The investigation aims to “examine how this company interacts with younger users” and “look for the possible existence of any illegal practice and stop the abuse,” he added. The investigation, explained by the prosecutor, was born from “recent internal reports at Meta that would show that the use of Instagram is associated with serious risks and damage to the physical and mental health of young people, including depression, eating disorders and even suicide “.
The investigation is being conducted by the Democratic and Republican Attorneys General of California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont. Attorneys general from New York, Colorado and Texas have also indicated their participation.
Meta: “False accusations, there is a big misunderstanding”
“These allegations are false and show that there is a great misunderstanding about the facts. While the challenges to protect young people online involve the entire sector, we have been a guide in the fight against bullying and in supporting people in difficulty with thoughts of suicide, self-harm and eating disorders “. Thus a spokesperson for Meta comments on the news.” We continue to develop new features to help those who may encounter negative social confrontations or have problems with their bodies. These include “Take a Break”, a feature that will be introduced soon, and ways to nudge people to other content if they are stuck on just one topic. We continue to develop monitoring and supervision tools for parents and are evaluating further pre-defined solutions that can provide adolescents with age-appropriate experiences, ”he adds.