9 State AG Young User Targeting Meta Survey
Biparty coalition of at least nine state attorneys general investigate potential Meta harmful effects that Facebook and Instagram have on Young users.
The group of legislators, first Noted goThe Wall Street Journal studies the techniques and technologies used by Meta to increase the frequency and length of time young users spend on Facebook and Instagram. Of more concern to Meta, the MAs also want to know whether the company’s targeting of young users violates consumer protection laws.
The investigation comes just days after the Ohio Attorney General spear a lawsuit against Meta claiming the company has misled the public about the effects of its products on children. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of investors and the Ohio State Employee Retirement System, seeks more than $ 100 billion in damages.
Until there, states involved in the investigation include Nebraska, Massachusetts, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee, Vermont and Connecticut. In a press ReleaseNebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said his office had long occupied concerns about the potential negative damage of social media on young residents.
“When social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to be manipulated for longer screen engagement and data mining, it becomes imperative that state attorneys general engage our investigative authority under our consumer protection laws, ”Peterson said.
The basis of the survey is largely based on Meta document leak, too first reported on by te Wall Street Journal, which show both a acknowledgement the potential harm of social media for young users and the aggressiveness of Meta interest courting and maintaining youth engagement. The backlash from these documents led to a audience by the Senate Commerce subcommittee where lawmakers interviewed whistleblower Frances Haugen, who disclosed the documents, on Meta’s business practices.
For its part, Meta has pushed against the characterization of some of these reports and challenges to the allegations made by the Attorneys General.
“These accusations are false and demonstrate a profound misunderstanding of the facts,” a Meta spokesperson told Gizmodo in an email. The spokesperson went on to say that Meta is the industry leader in combating bullying and supporting users struggling with self-harm, suicidal thoughts and body image issues. “We continue to develop parental supervision controls and explore ways to provide even more age-appropriate experiences for teenagers by default. “
Although the leaked internal documents produced by Haugen provided concrete evidence that Meta (then called Facebook) was aware of the effects of its platforms, child safety defenders and lawmakers have spoken of the potential harm of social media to years.
In April, an international child safety coalition of 35 organizations and 64 individual experts called to Facebook to abandon its Instagram application for children under 13.
“Instagram, in particular, exploits young people’s fear of missing out and their desire for peer approval to encourage children and teens to constantly check their devices and share photos with their followers,” the article reads. the letter. “The platform’s focus on appearance, self-presentation and branding presents challenges for the privacy and well-being of adolescents. “
Soon after, a group of 44 state attorneys general, including several involved in the new ingestion, wrote an open letter to the CEO of Meta Mark Zuckerberg begs founder to ditch Instagram for Kidentifiers. Amid recent torrents of backlash, the company announcement in September, he would put his Instagram for Kids project on hiatus, but didn’t go so far as to abandon the project entirely.