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Press Release AG Healey Co-Leads Nationwide Investigation into Instagram’s Impact on Young People

Bipartisan Group of Attorneys General Concerned for Safety and Well-Being of Children; Examining Potential Violations of Consumer Protection Laws
For immediate release:
11/18/2021
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey

Media Contact for AG Healey Co-Leads Nationwide Investigation into Instagram’s Impact on Young People

Jillian Fennimore

BOSTON Attorney General Maura Healey announced today she is co-leading a bipartisan, nationwide investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform – Instagram – to children and young adults despite knowing that such use is associated with physical and mental health harms. Attorneys general across the country are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.

“Facebook, now Meta, has failed to protect young people on its platforms and instead chose to ignore or, in some cases, double down on known manipulations that pose a real threat to physical and mental health – exploiting children in the interest of profit,” said AG Healey. “As Attorney General it is my job to protect young people from these online harms. Today I am co-leading a nationwide coalition to get to the bottom of this company’s engagement with young users, identify any unlawful practices, and end these abuses for good. Meta can no longer ignore the threat that social media can pose to children for the benefit of their bottom line.”              

The AG’s investigation targets, among other things, the techniques utilized by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement. Today’s announcement follows recent reports revealing that Meta’s own internal research shows that using Instagram is associated with increased risks of physical and mental health harms on young people, including depression, eating disorders, and even suicide.

AG Healey has long been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Massachusetts’ youngest residents. In May, she co-led a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urged Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13. In the letter to CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the coalition contends that Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms.

Leading the investigation, involving a broad group of states across the country, is a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.

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Media Contact for AG Healey Co-Leads Nationwide Investigation into Instagram’s Impact on Young People

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
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