Of these 42 attorneys general, 33 filed a combined lawsuit in a federal court in northern California. Nine more attorneys general have filed individual cases against Meta in their own home states, including the District of Columbia.
The bipartisan suit was filed by attorneys general from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
The attorneys general argue that Meta is in violation of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, which bars the collection of data from users under the age of 13 without obtaining parental consent. The different lawsuits also argue that Meta has violated a whole host of state consumer protection laws with its illicit business practices that target young social media users.
Paul Barrett, deputy director and senior research scholar at the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, noted that the state attorneys general may be attempting to get Meta to cave in and agree to a settlement. Such a settlement could force Meta to agree to certain changes that would mitigate some of the harms the lawsuits point to.
"It's possible that if they reach a settlement under which Meta agrees to change certain policies for the benefit of young users," the attorneys general can then use this to force other Big Tech and social media companies to match Meta's own concessions, "with the threat of being sued if the other companies don't get with the program," said Barrett.
New York Attorney General Letitia James noted that the lawsuit is demanding an end to Meta's practice of "knowingly" creating "addictive and psychologically manipulative features" that target young people while "falsely assuring the public" that Meta's social media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram, continue to be safe to use. (Related: New York lawmakers propose new bills to mitigate the negative impact of social media on minors.)
"Meta has profited from children's pain by intentionally designing its platforms with manipulative features that make children addicted to their platforms while lowering their self-esteem," said James in her statement. "Social media companies, including Meta, have contributed to a national youth mental health crisis and they must be held accountable."
The attorneys general argue that some of the supposedly addictive features include the use of camera filters, the infinite scrolling and intrusive notifications that call young people back to Meta's social media platforms.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta warned that evidence has proven that excessive and problematic social media use has been linked to various health problems, including loss of sleep, attention problems and feelings of exclusion.
"As if being young isn't hard enough – Meta knows all of this and more and yet has decided to disregard the serious dangers to promote their products to prominence to make a profit," said Bonta. "Not only do they disregard the danger, they lied about it; they lied to users, to parents, to all of us."
Learn more about the potentially illicit activities of social media companies at TechGiants.news.
Watch the this video video about Meta targeting children.
This video is from the TNP (The New Prisoners) channel on Brighteon.com.