State attorney general to investigate impact of Instagram on teens

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State attorney general to investigate impact of Instagram on teens

A bipartisan group of state attorneys general said on Thursday they learned of the mental and emotional harm caused by the service to Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, for promoting their social media app Instagram.

At least nine states are involved in the investigation, including California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Tennessee and Vermont.

Maura Healy, Massachusetts attorney general and one of the leaders of the investigation, said states were investigating whether the company’s actions violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.

Facebook, now Meta, has failed to protect young people on its platform and has instead chosen to ignore or, in some cases, double down on known manipulations that pose a real threat to physical and mental health. – exploiting children in the interest of profit,” Ms Healy said.

The move comes after a bunch of documents detailed research from a former employee inside the social media company that suggested teens faced body image issues while using Instagram. The document, titled The Facebook Papers, was shared with journalists in October. The Wall Street Journal first reported on the documents and issues on Instagram with the help of whistle-blower Francis Haugen.

Doug Peterson, Nebraska Attorney General and another leader of the investigation, said the state will “investigate the techniques used by META to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the harm caused by such extended engagement.”

Mr Peterson said in a tweet, “When social media platforms treat our children as mere objects to manipulate for prolonged screen time engagement and data extraction, our consumer protection laws for the state attorney general It becomes mandatory to involve our investigating authority under the

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Facebook papers spanning thousands of pages and gigabytes of data show a company struggling to deal with a range of issues that come as a byproduct of its sheer scale and billions of users who are misinformed with users around the world. , spanning topics such as addiction and manipulation. , Much of the information came in the form of detailed reports examining the issues set out by the company’s research division.

META states that the research efforts are aimed at improving the company’s products and services to address the issues they point to.

The documents detailed that nearly a third of teenage girls who were already feeling bad about their bodies said that Instagram made them feel worse. “Comparisons on Instagram could change the way young women see and describe themselves,” the documents said.

Meta has disputed the characterization of the initial reporting on Instagram issues, saying the story lacks context and omitted important information.

Representatives for Meta did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

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