AG Shapiro Opens Investigation Into Instagram’s Impact on Young People

November 18, 2021 | Topic: Consumers

Attorney General Concerned for Safety and Well-Being of Children; Examining Potential Violations of Consumer Protection Laws

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Shapiro today opened a nationwide investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform – Instagram – to children and young adults in a way that violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk. Attorney General Shapiro is joined by a broad bipartisan coalition of Attorneys General across the country.

“We must do more to keep our children safe online — from both predatory people and predatory companies who put them at risk. Social media companies have a responsibility to keep their users safe and disclose risks associated with their platforms,” said AG Shapiro. “Our investigation will help determine whether Facebook failed in its responsibility to protect children online and will help us determine how to stop these companies from continuing to put children at risk for their own profit.”

The investigation targets, among other things, the techniques utilized by Facebook to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement. Today’s announcement follows recent reports revealing that Meta’s own internal research shows that using Instagram is associated with increased risks of physical and mental health harms on young people, including depression, eating disorders, and even suicide. AG Shapiro has long been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Pennsylvania’s youngest residents. Last month, AG Shapiro sent a letter to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security calling for Congress to enact stronger regulations on social media platforms.

This investigation is being led by a broad group of states across the country including the attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.

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