A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from several US states have launched an investigation to examine how Instagram – the giant that heads Meta – attracts and affects children and young people. “Mark Zuckerberg and the companies he leads have put profits above safety, but our investigation will try to put an end to this behavior. Our coalition will not hesitate to take whatever action is necessary to protect children and young people from the damage that Instagram and other social media may cause them, ”says New York Attorney General Letitia James. The group will examine the techniques used by the company to increase the engagement of young users on social platforms.
Facebook knew about the risks to young people
Already last September, the Wall Street Journal had revealed how Facebook was already aware of the danger of Instagram for the mental health of boys and girls, but that it had not taken any measures in this regard. According to some research commissioned by the same Menlo Park company, but kept secret, one in three girls with an Instagram account develops perception disorders of their own body.
Stop a “Instagram Kids”
After the WSJ investigation, Zuckerberg defended himself by stating that in reality the social network “is not toxic to teenagers”, but in the meantime the head of Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced the suspension of the Instagram Kids project, a version of the app for children under 13 that the company was working on, along with the adoption of a number of new tools for parental control. A decision that seemed to have calmed the controversy over security, but certainly the investigation by US prosecutors now reopens the question.