33 state attorneys general from both parties filed a bipartisan lawsuit against Meta, claiming that the company created and implemented damaging features on Facebook and Instagram that led to a generation of youth addictions.

The federal complaint is the result of a nearly two-year-long probe of Meta’s social media platforms. The 233-page lawsuit alleges that Meta engaged in a massive conspiracy to benefit from the exploitation of younger users and claims that the social media behemoth misled the public about the risks that its apps posed to minors.

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Attorney General Bonta of California said in a statement on Tuesday that “our bipartisan investigation has arrived at a solemn conclusion: Meta has been harming our children and teens, cultivating addiction to boost corporate profits.” We are drawing the line with this litigation. We refuse to give up this battle because we have a duty to defend our children.

A central claim of Meta’s attorneys general complaint is that it violates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA). Media firms are prohibited by COPPA from obtaining data about minors without the approval of their parents.

“Meta consistently acquires actual knowledge of under-13 users on Instagram, despite Meta’s attempts to evade its obligations under COPPA by seeking to maintain willful ignorance of its users under the age of 13,” the lawsuit claims.

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Mark Zuckerberg and Meta are accused by the attorneys general coalition of misleading the public about their COPPA compliance. According to the case’s research, 40% of kids between the ages of 9 and 12 use Instagram every day.

In response to Gizmodo’s request for comment, Meta did not immediately reply.

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The attorneys general claim that Meta knew, through internal studies, that its products seriously injure young people’s bodies and minds, but the business played this down and misled the public about it.

Among the 33 states involved in the federal case are Arizona, California, and Colorado. Nine additional states, including Florida, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, are launching state lawsuits of their own.


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