Massachusetts attorney general joins in multi-state, federal lawsuit against Instagram parent Meta

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Massachusetts’ attorney general has announced that she is suing Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta for “unfair and deceptive practices that harm young people.”

“Meta preys on our young people and has chosen to profit by knowingly targeting and exploiting their vulnerabilities. In doing so, Meta has significantly contributed to the ongoing mental health crisis among our children and teenagers,” Attorney General Andrea Campbell said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald

AG Andrea Campbell (Stuart Cahill/Boston Herald, File)

“Because Meta has shown that it will not act responsibly unless it is required to do so by courts of law, my colleagues and I are taking action today — and will continue to push for meaningful changes to Meta’s platforms that protect our young people,” she added.

Campbell said the lawsuit will be filed in Suffolk Superior Court today, joining “a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general” also filing similar lawsuits against Meta.

The AG’s office says Meta “knew of the significant harm” its practices, which they allege includes designing the applications to “addict young users,” caused their target audience “and chose to hide its knowledge and mislead the public to make a profit.

While Meta is a California, based company, the AG’s office said that the practices have affected “hundreds of thousands of teenagers in Massachusetts who actively use Instagram.” The coalition of attorneys general will also be filing a federal lawsuit in Meta’s home in  the Northern District of California.

Meta in response issued a statement that it shares “the attorneys general’s commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teens 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,” the company’s statement continues.

This is a developing story.

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