Meta is being sued across 41 states for allegedly incorporating features that make young children addicted to its apps.
Meta, the parent company of Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook, is being sued in a joint suit across 33 states. At the same time, the remaining eight states and the District of Columbia have filed individual claims, Complex reports. Per the filings, Meta “has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens.” This includes elements such as “infinite scroll,” autoplay Stories and Reels, and frequent notifications. Experts believe these many components contribute to extreme FOMO or the “fear of missing out.” Since young people are often incapable of putting their phones down on their own, Meta is reportedly not helping them orchestrate healthy boundaries. The lawsuits arrive after a two-year investigation, accusing Meta of violating multiple consumer laws aimed at protecting children.
The joint filing pointed out the harmful effects of using such addictive features in the app. Insomnia, depression, and anxiety have all been linked to constant social media use. Too much scrolling on the timeline can also cause a lack of focus. Though shocking, lawsuits such as these are not new for Meta. Last year, California parents sued Meta for allegedly contributing to their daughter’s eating disorder and mental health decline. Earlier this year, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy also raised the alarm about the minimum age of use. Currently, Meta claims its apps are appropriate for ages 13 and up, though Murthy thinks otherwise.
Meta responded to the many claims, reassuring the public that they had implemented several safety measures.