HomeWinBuzzer News45 State Attorneys General Sue Meta Over Child Safety Neglect

45 State Attorneys General Sue Meta Over Child Safety Neglect

The lawsuits claim that Meta has unfairly targeted young users and misled the public regarding the dangers of its platforms.

-

Meta is confronting lawsuits filed by 45 states and the District of Columbia, according to The New York Times. The legal claims argue that Meta has not done enough to protect children and teenagers on its platforms and has misinformed the public about potential risks.

Accusations of Public Deception

The lawsuits claim that Meta has unfairly targeted young users and misled the public regarding the dangers of its platforms. This coordinated legal effort aims to ensure that Meta adopts comprehensive safety measures to protect children and teenagers online.

Court documents show that and other top executives downplayed the risks associated with their platforms, despite receiving internal warnings from employees. The New York Times noted that while Zuckerberg and his team were aware of the dangers, they frequently ignored recommendations to improve youth safety.

Neglected Research Initiatives

Internal discussions from April 2019 reveal that David Ginsberg, an executive at Meta, advocated for a study focused on addressing issues like loneliness and excessive use among teens on Instagram and . Ginsberg requested a dedicated team to tackle these concerns, citing the increasing scrutiny regarding “problematic use/addiction and teens.” In an email, David Ginsberg raised concerns about teens' problematic use and suggested a research initiative to address these issues. The proposal was turned down due to resource constraints. Furthermore, the mother of a teenager who died by suicide after being preyed upon on Facebook criticized Meta for failing to implement adequate safety measures and not responding to her reports.

Susan Li, Meta's current CFO, stated that the project did not receive funding due to workforce limitations. Instagram's head Adam Mosseri also turned down the funding request, commenting via email, “I don't see us funding this from Instagram any time soon.”

Parallels to Legal Actions Against Big Tobacco

Comparisons have been drawn between these lawsuits and the government's past litigation against Big Tobacco. The attorneys general seek to compel Meta to implement stronger safety protocols for minors on its platforms.

Analysis of court documents, including around 1,400 pages of internal emails and records, indicates that Meta's leadership, including CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has publicly praised the safety of their platforms while minimizing the risks to young users. Despite internal calls for enhanced safety measures and increased staffing, management frequently dismissed these suggestions.

Rejected Safety Proposals

The U.S. surgeon general has advocated for social media sites to carry warnings akin to those on cigarette packages, citing rising mental health issues among young people. Some lawmakers are pushing for the Kids Online Safety Act to limit the use of addictive techniques on minors.

Meta has contested the accusations in the lawsuits and media reports, with spokesperson Liza Crenshaw asserting that the legal documents misrepresent their efforts. Despite these claims, internal communications highlight a strategy focused on increasing teen engagement, with a staff member admitting in a 2016 email that their objective was to maximize the time teens spent on Meta's platforms.

Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus Kasanmascheff
Markus is the founder of WinBuzzer and has been playing with Windows and technology for more than 25 years. He is holding a Master´s degree in International Economics and previously worked as Lead Windows Expert for Softonic.com.