A coalition of US state prosecutors said Thursday that they are investigating how the social network Instagram recruits and affects young people, an action that increases pressure on parent company Meta (the former Facebook) regarding possible harmful effects on its users. .
Led by Massachusetts and Nebraska prosecutors, who have been joined by at least seven more states, the coalition is focusing on “the techniques used by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of youth user interaction and the resulting harm ”.
Attorneys general, from states ruled by both Democrats and Republicans, said they are investigating whether Meta violated consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.
“When social media platforms treat our children as mere products to manipulate so that they spend more time in front of the screen and data is extracted, it is imperative that state attorneys general communicate with investigating authorities under the laws of protection of the consumer, ”Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson said in a statement.
For her part, New York Attorney General Letitia James spoke harshly against Mark Zuckerberg’s social media, which she said was “extremely dangerous and has been shown to cause both physical and mental harm to young people.”
“It doesn’t matter if it’s called Instagram, Facebook or Meta, the facts remain the same,” said James, adding that “time and time again, Mark Zuckerberg and the companies he manages have prioritized profit over safety.”
In addition to Massachusetts, Nebraska and New York, the attorneys general of California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont are part of the joint investigation, although there could be more states, since the full list of participants has not yet been completed. made public.
The investigation comes after the attention that the effects of Instagram on young people have received after the Wall Street Journal published last September internal investigations of the company that determined that its own product could generate “negative social comparisons” in a big way. Number of users.
He also noted that it could cause body image problems, especially in young women, considering its format, based on photographs and images.