AG Letitia James launches an investigation into Instagram’s impact on kids

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FILE – This Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021 file photo shows the mobile phone app logos for, from left, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp in New York. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

(NEWS10) – A coalition of 44 attorneys general, including New York Attorney General Letitia James, will investigate Meta Platforms, Inc. — formerly known as Facebook — of potential violations of consumer protection laws. Attorneys general of New York, Vermont, and Massachusetts had opposed the Facebook version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.

In a signed letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on May 10. 2021 the 44 AGs express concerns over the potential social media impacts on the emotional well-being of young children. Facebook continued to provide and promote the social media platform Instagram despite knowing that such use is associated with physical and mental health harms.

In a statement released by Attorney General Letitia James, the investigation will target the harmful use of Meta techniques to increase the number of times young users engage the social media platform. The AGs will examine whether the company violated state protection laws, thereby putting the public at risk.

“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,” said Attorney General James. “Time and again, Mark Zuckerberg and the companies he runs have put profits over safety, but our investigation seeks to end that behavior. Our coalition will not hesitate to take whatever action is necessary to protect children and young adults from the harms Instagram and other social media platforms risk to so many.”

This investigation follows Meta’s own internal report in research associated with the use of Instagram to the increased risks of physical and mental health harm on young people including depression, eating disorders, and even suicide. Attorney General James says she has been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on New York’s youngest residents.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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