A group of state attorneys general has launched an investigation into the effect that Instagram has on the mental health of children and teenagers. They accused Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms, of ignoring internal research detailing the negative impact Instagram has on young people.
"For too long, Meta has ignored the havoc that Instagram is wreaking on the mental health and well-being of our children and teens," California Attorney General Rob Bonta said. "Enough is enough. We've undertaken this nationwide investigation to get answers about Meta's efforts to promote the use of this social media platform to young Californians — and to determine if, in doing so, Meta violated the law."
The states involved in the investigation include California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont. Officials said the investigation will focus on how Instagram keeps young people using its platform and how extended use of Instagram can be harmful.
New York Attorney General Letitia James said that officials are prepared "to take whatever action is necessary" to protect children from the potential harms of social media.
"Doesn't make a difference if you call it Instagram, Facebook, or Meta, the fact still remains the same: These social media platforms are extremely dangerous and have been proven to cause both physical and mental harm in young people," James said. "Time and again, Mark Zuckerberg and the companies he run have put profits over safety, but our investigation seeks to end that behavior."
Meta pushed back against the claims, calling the allegations "false" and saying they "demonstrate a deep misunderstanding of the facts."
"While challenges in protecting young people online impact the entire industry, we've led the industry in combating bullying and supporting people struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-injury, and eating disorders," a Meta spokesperson said in a statement.