November 22, 2021

State AGs Launch Investigation Into Instagram

  • Flyover Country

By: Konrad Holden

In Brief:

At least 10 states have launched investigations into the popular social media app Instagram which is owned by Meta (formerly called Facebook). The attorneys general from the states including New York, Nebraska, and Massachusetts, say that Instagram’s tactics for attracting younger users may be causing psychological harm. The investigations were sparked by a Meta employee who revealed that the company was aware the app could have negative psychological effects on users.

The Background:

Facebook has been in the news a lot recently.

In early October, they were in the hot seat in Congress after an employee leaked research showing that Facebook knew the Instagram app was harmful to users, especially younger girls.

Then Facebook changed its company name to Meta (while keeping the iconic social media site name).

Now, the company is being investigated by at least 10 state attorneys general for the negative effects its Instagram app has on young girls.

California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee, Texas, and Vermont are all considering whether or not Meta violated consumer protection laws.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said, “Our coalition will not hesitate to take whatever action is necessary to protect children and young adults from the harms Instagram and other social media platforms risk to so many.”

Meta has some history fighting state regulation. Earlier in 2021, the company beat an antitrust lawsuit filed by the Federal Trade Commission. 

Notable Quotes:

"When social media platforms treat our children as mere commodities to manipulate for longer screen time engagement and data extraction, it becomes imperative for state attorneys general to engage our investigative authority under our consumer protection laws." - Doug Peterson, Nebraska Attorney General

 

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