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Federal Lawsuit Reveals Concerns Over Instagram’s Link to Childhood Depression Leaves Public Disheartened

The Lawsuit Against Meta’s Instagram Unit

The attorneys general of 33 states have filed a complaint in federal court, suing Meta over the impact of its social media platforms on the mental health of youth.

According to Reuters, the states accuse Meta of fueling a youth mental health crisis by promoting addiction through their social media platforms.

The complaint alleges that Meta repeatedly deceived the public about the dangers of its platforms, deliberately encouraging addictive and compulsive social media use among young children and teenagers.

“Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens,” states the complaint filed in federal court.

Not Just About Profit

Alongside concerns about addictive practices, there have long been criticisms of how social media affects vulnerable and impressionable young users.

However, the states involved in the lawsuit claim that research has specifically linked children’s use of Meta’s platforms to negative outcomes such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and interference with education and daily life.

Meta expressed disappointment in the lawsuit and argued that the attorneys general should have worked with the industry to establish clear, age-appropriate standards for apps used by teenagers.

The complaint also accuses Meta of not disclosing that its algorithms are designed to exploit young users’ dopamine responses and create an addictive cycle.

Last year, Meta faced criticism after a 14-year-old girl in the UK, who had allegedly been exposed to self-harm and suicide content on Instagram, died by suicide.

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