States attorneys general investigating Instagram's effects on kids

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A coalition of states attorneys general have opened an investigation into the impact of Meta-owned Instagram on children and young adults.

The investigation, announced on Thursday, will focus on whether or not Instagram provided and promoted its services to young people in a way that violated state consumer protection laws.

For example, the probe will target the techniques used by the company formerly known as Facebook to increase the engagement by young users and what types of harms that engagement could cause.

"Doesn't make a difference if you call it Instagram, Facebook, or Meta, the fact still remains the same: These social media platforms are extremely dangerous and have been proven to cause both physical and mental harm in young people," said New York Attorney General Letitia James. "Time and again, Mark Zuckerberg and the companies he run have put profits over safety, but our investigation seeks to end that behavior."

The investigation is bipartisan, with attorneys general from California, Massachusetts, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont involved.

A spokesperson for Meta said that the investigation was based on accusations that are "false and demonstrate a deep misunderstanding of the facts."

The investigation's announcement cites a leak of internal Facebook documents showing that the social media giant was aware of the effect that its platforms had on the mental health of young people.