Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) announced she is launching an investigation against Meta, the company previously known as Facebook before its recent rebrand. Moody is joining seven other attorneys general in launching an investigation into its targeted marketing practices toward children and teenagers.
“We have serious concerns about how social media is impacting the lives of young people in this country, and as a mother, I want to know how Facebook/Meta is targeting youth and what strategies this Big Tech giant is using to entice children and teens to lengthen engagement on its platforms,” Moody said in an official statement. “I am proud to lead these efforts with our partner states to find out if Meta violated any consumer protection laws and put our children at risk.”
Of the things Moody is investigating, she includes the “frequency and duration of engagement by young users.” Moody also notes in her press release that Meta’s own internal data indicates extended use of Instagram increases “physical and mental health damages on young people. These harms include depression, eating disorders and suicide.”
One Meta whistleblower last month testified before Congress that the company harms children and only puts profits before the well-being of the user.
“Facebook’s products harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy,” said former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen. “The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people.”
According to another internal study from then-Facebook, the company has been entirely aware of the negative effects of Instagram on teenage girls including body image issues, anxiety, and depression.
“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” Facebook’s researchers reportedly wrote in a March 2020 presentation.
Meta/Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress earlier in 2021, and he maintained his platforms are intended to bring people together.
“The research that we’ve seen is that using social apps to connect with other people can have positive mental-health benefits,” Zuckerberg said.
Moody posted on Twitter the announcement that she is working with the other attorneys general from other states.
“Working with a group of attorneys general from across the country to investigate how Facebook/Meta is targeting youth and what strategies this Big Tech giant is using to entice children to lengthen engagement on its platforms,” Moody tweeted.
Working with a group of attorneys general from across the country to investigate how Facebook/Meta is targeting youth and what strategies this Big Tech giant is using to entice children to lengthen engagement on its platforms. https://t.co/Q5dOkRMQnI pic.twitter.com/9i4MdjJx61
— AG Ashley Moody (@AGAshleyMoody) November 18, 2021
– – –
Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Ashley Moody” by Ashley Moody. Background Photo “Facebook App” by LoboStudioHamburg.