A coalition of 41 states in the United States (USA) and the District of Columbia sued Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) this Tuesday and defended that their social networks Instagram and Facebook are addictive and harmful to children.
This legal action is the most important effort by the state authorities to stop the impact of social networks on the mental health of minors and to force Meta to change the characteristics of its networks because of how dangerous they are, as they claim, for young users.
At least 33 states, including Colorado and California, have filed a joint lawsuit in federal court in the Northern District of California. Individually, other attorneys general in Washington, DC, and eight states have filed separate complaints in federal, state, or local courts.
The rain of needs has its roots in 2021 research about the various ways that technological titans contribute to youth mental health problems.
Negative effects on users’ perception of their bodies
In 2021, The Wall Street Journal explained in a report prepared with internal information on how Instagram is deteriorating user perception—especially women and teenagers—in their bodies and noted that the company is aware of this problem.
Since then, some states, such as Arkansas and Utah, have passed laws that prohibit children under 13 from accessing social media and require adolescents under 18 to obtain parental consent to access sites.
California has passed laws requiring tech companies to check their platforms for potential risks and problems.