Illinois has joined a class action lawsuit accusing Meta of contributing to a mental health crisis among youths.
The lawsuit includes 33 states that are accusing Meta, which operates Facebook and Instagram, of knowingly inducing teens into addictive social media use. Other states are expected to join the lawsuit.
“Meta has been allowed to addict our children to a product that interferes with their education, their sleep, and ultimately their mental and physical health,” said Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul.
The authorities say Meta’s “dopamine-manipulating” features have poisoned an entire generation’s mental health, citing a recommendation algorithm that determines what people see when they log onto Instagram and Facebook, the ability to “like” posts and to scroll without limits.
“Research has shown that young people’s use of Meta’s social media platforms is associated with depression, anxiety, insomnia, interference with education and daily life, and many other negative outcomes,” the complaint said.
The lawsuit also alleges that Meta violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting personal data on users under 13 without the consent of a parent.
“Meta knows that its social media platforms have features that exacerbate issues young people have with depression, anxiety, body image dysmorphia and thoughts of self harm,” said Raoul.
In a statement, Meta spokesperson Nkechi Nneji said the company has introduced a number of features to support users and their families.
“We’re disappointed that instead of working productively with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards for the many apps teens use, the attorneys general have chosen this path,” Nneji said.
The lawsuit is asking courts to force the company to make drastic changes to Facebook and Instagram aimed at making the platforms safer for young people, along with civil penalties.
“I would like to thank Illinois Attorney General Raoul for his decision to join with 32 other state attorney generals to file a lawsuit to hold Meta accountable for the harmful and addictive algorithms they utilize to profit off of unsuspecting minors,” said state Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, in a statement.
Illinois Radio Network