Medical Technology

State Attorneys General Probing Instagram’s Effects on Kids

A group of state attorneys general is investigating Instagram’s photo-sharing platform and its impact on young adults. They say that the parent company, now rebranded as Meta Platforms, ignored internal studies on the mental and physical health risks it posed to young people.

A bipartisan group of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky and Massachusetts is in charge of the investigation. The investigation follows a series of reports in the media, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, that are based on the company’s own study that showed that the company knew of the dangers Instagram can cause teenagersparticularly teenage girlsregarding body image and mental health issues.

Since the initial reports, a consortium of news agencies including The Associated Press, have published their own findings based on leaked documents from whistleblower Frances Haugen, who has been a witness before Congress and a British committee of parliament about the information she uncovered.

“For too long, Meta has ignored the destruction that Instagram creates on the mental well-being and health of our children and teens,” said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. “Enough is enough. We’ve conducted this nationwide investigation to find answers on Meta’s efforts to promote the use of the social media platform to young Californians – and to determine if, by doing so, Meta violated the law.”

The investigation focuses on the strategies Meta uses to keep young people on its platforms, and the potential harms long-term use of Instagram can cause.

Meta spokesperson Liza Crenshaw said the accusations were “false” but they showed an “deep mistake in the interpretation of the facts.”

Crenshaw stated in the statement that while there are challenges in protecting children online, they have been at the forefront of combating bullying and assisting people with eating disorders, self-injury or suicidal ideas.

The state probes follow a Monday announcement that Ohio’s largest public employee pension fund had filed a lawsuit against Meta and claimed that it violated federal securities law by purposely informing the public about the negative effects of its social media platforms and the algorithms that run them.

The lawsuit was filed by the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. It alleges that Facebook kept secret information about the way it managed these algorithms as well as the actions it claimed to be taking to safeguard it.

Content Source: https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/963369?src=rss

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