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| less than a minute read

Regulators Go Aggressively After Facebook Parent for Kids' Privacy Violations

Attorneys general and other regulators from more than half the states in the US brought federal and state actions against Meta in mid-October for “cultivating addiction” to social media in teens and illegally collecting personal information from children. The claims come from “a nationwide investigation that several attorneys general announced in November 2021 into how Meta engages with its youngest users.” The allegations are wide-ranging, and include complaints about algorithms, alerts, filters, and other measures that are designed to keep people on the platform longer and that may distort content in harmful ways. The lawsuits accuse Meta of falsely claiming that these kinds of measures do not hurt children.  

Meta also faces charges of collecting information from under-13s in violation of the federal online children's privacy act, which generally requires verifiable parental consent and other measures to interact with those children.  

Why It Matters

Getting a bipartisan coalition on any issue these days feels rare, but protecting kids is an area where everyone is on the same page of the playbook.  There has been quite a lot of media coverage of the claim that social media harms teens and children through its “stickiness” and by encouraging obsessive behaviors, among other things.  These suits will test the strength of such assertions and the scholars and parents who make them.  


A bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, New York, Georgia, Illinois, South Carolina and 28 other states filed a lawsuit in California federal court that accuses Meta of violating federal and state laws, including the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and California's False Advertising Law, by designing its business models to maximize young users' engagement and deploying manipulative features that negatively impact their mental and physical health.


data security and privacy, hill_mitzi, insights, technology, youth services law