Though Attorney General Ashley Moody has lately focused on busting vaccine and mask mandates, her focus shifted to social media late this week as she announced the launching of a probe against Meta — Instagram’s parent company.
AG Moody is leading a consortium of Attorney Generals from 7 other states: California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont, to investigate Instagram for conduct relating to children and teenagers and whether the platform violated consumer protection laws by carelessly promoting the service to younger users.
“We have serious concerns about how social media is impacting the lives of young people in this country, and as a mother, I want to know how Facebook/Meta is targeting youth and what strategies this Big Tech giant is using to entice children and teens to lengthen engagement on its platforms,” said Moody. “I am proud to lead these efforts with our partner states to find out if Meta violated any consumer protection laws and put our children at risk.”
The investigation largely targets, among other things, the techniques used by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement.
Meta recently released findings of its own internal research that shows that using Instagram is associated with increased risks of physical and mental health damages on young people. These harms include depression, eating disorders, and suicide.
Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, was questioned by lawmakers in October concerning user safety after a whistleblower alleged that the company harms children and stokes division through its regulation, or lack thereof, on its platform.
Facebook metamorphosed into Meta Platforms, Inc in late October as the company attempts to shift to a virtual reality-based platform used for work and recreation.
The initial announcement of the so-called ‘Metaverse’ received backlash, as consumers are reluctant to try the service.
“Meta as in “we are a cancer to democracy metastasizing into a global surveillance and propaganda machine for boosting authoritarian regimes and destroying civil society… for profit,” said US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in response to the rebrand.
Meta as in “we are a cancer to democracy metastasizing into a global surveillance and propaganda machine for boosting authoritarian regimes and destroying civil society… for profit!” https://t.co/jzOcCFaWkJ
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) October 28, 2021