27 Oct ATTORNEY GENERAL WRIGLEY JOINS BIPARTISAN COALITION OF ATTORNEYS GENERAL IN LAWSUIT AGAINS META FOR HARMING YOUTH MENTAL HEALTH THROUGH ITS SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
October 27, 2023
CONTACT: Suzie Weigel, 701.328.2210, email@example.com
Bismarck, ND – Attorney General Drew Wrigley earlier this week, announced that, along with 33 other attorneys general, he has sued Meta in federal court alleging that the company knowingly designed and deployed harmful features on Instagram and its other social media platforms that purposefully addict children and teens. At the same time, Meta falsely assured the public that these features are safe and suitable for young users.
The attorneys general assert that Meta’s business practices violate state consumer protection laws and the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). These practices have harmed and continue to harm the physical and mental health of children and teens and have helped fuel what the U.S. Surgeon General has deemed a “youth mental health crisis” which has ended lives, devastated families, and undermined the potential of a generation of young people.
“I am pleased to join my fellow attorneys general in this important effort to address Meta’s troubling role in fostering mental health and emotional problems associated with social media over use, because protecting the well-being of children and teens will always remain a top priority,” said Attorney General Wrigley.
The federal complaint was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and alleges that Meta knew of the harmful impact of its platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, on young people. Instead of taking steps to mitigate these harms, meta misled the public about the harms associated with use of its platform, concealing the extent of the psychological and health harms suffered by young users addicted to use of its platforms. The complaint further alleges that Meta knew that young users, including those under 13, were active on the platforms, and knowingly collected data from these users without parental consent.
Attorney General Wrigley noted that publicly available sources detail that Meta significantly profited by purposely making its platforms addictive to children and teens, by using features such as infinite scroll and near constant alerts. Meta knew these addictive features harmed young people’s physical and mental health but did not disclose or attempt to minimize the harm. Instead, they falsely claimed their platforms were safe for young users.
States joining the federal lawsuit are Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
In parallel complaints filed in state courts, 12 states have made similar allegations. These states are Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont.