Is Big Tech Owning Up? The State Of Social Media Accountability

33 U.S. states are suing Meta Platforms Inc., accusing the company of intentionally designing addictive features that harm young people's mental health. Additionally, it allegedly violates federal law by collecting children's data without parental consent. The case aims to challenge unethical social media practices detrimental to children's mental health.
little girl trying to figure her way around on a cell phone

One of the most helpless feelings for parents is when your child or teenager is controlled by social media. Similar to drug addiction, it feels like they are preoccupied with what they’re reading on social media platforms that are relentless in continuing their addiction. What can a parent do when this happens and they feel like they have lost control of their child?

Misleading the Public

A recent article in the Associated Press asserts that 33 states are actually moving forward to hold social media platforms accountable:

Dozens of US states, including California and New York, are suing Meta Platforms Inc. for harming young people and contributing to the youth mental health crisis by knowingly and deliberately designing features on Instagram and Facebook that addict children to its platforms.

A lawsuit filed by 33 states in federal court in California, claims that Meta routinely collects data on children under 13 without their parents’ consent, in violation of federal law. In addition, nine Attorneys General are filing lawsuits in their respective states, bringing the total number of states taking action to 41 and Washington, D.C.

Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to entice, engage, and ultimately ensnare youth and teens. Its motive is profit, and in seeking to maximize its financial gains, Meta has repeatedly misled the public about the substantial dangers of its social media platforms” the complaint says. “It has concealed the ways in which these platforms exploit and manipulate its most vulnerable consumers: teenagers and children.”

Putting an End to Addictive Tactics

I am quite confident there will be a great deal of legal wrangling in such a case. However, it’s interesting that the Attorney General of New York is accusing these platforms of lowering the self-esteem of our children who are becoming addicted through intentional tactics from the Meta Platforms Company. This is one of the first multi-state lawsuits that will be attempting to prove the connection between the tactics utilized via social media platforms and the mental health of our youth.

Protecting Children’s Mental Health

For all who feel helpless to the impact of social media, know that many states have risen up to create a case with damages to stop these platforms from engaging our kids to use addicting tactics that are potentially harmful to their mental health. It’s certainly a case worth following as it continues to progress to its conclusion, and it’s a good step to expose any tactics that are illegal and unethical. Hopefully this will pave a path towards regulations that may limit the amount of engineered social media that is having a negative impact on the mental health of our children and teenagers.

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