Attorney General Tong Joins Nationwide Investigation Into Instagram's Impact on Young People
Attorneys General Concerned for Safety and Well-Being of Children; Examining Potential Violations of Consumer Protection Laws(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong today announced a nationwide investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform – Instagram – to children and young adults despite knowing that such use is associated with physical and mental health harms. Attorneys general across the country are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.
“As a father of three, I’ve seen firsthand how harmful social media is for our kids, and how difficult it is for parents to manage these risks. Facebook knew that its platforms were associated with increased risks to physical and mental health for young people, including depression, eating disorders, and suicide. But they kept pushing this content and continued to manipulate their algorithms to keep young people engaged. Our investigation seeks full access to exactly what Facebook—now Meta—knew and precisely what techniques they deployed to keep our kids online. I am prepared to use the full weight of Connecticut’s strong consumer protection laws to hold them accountable,” said Attorney General Tong.
The investigation targets, among other things, the techniques utilized by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement. Today’s announcement follows recent reports revealing that Meta’s own internal research shows that using Instagram is associated with increased risks of physical and mental health harms on young people, including depression, eating disorders, and even suicide. Attorney General Tong has long been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Connecticut’s youngest residents. In May, a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urged Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.
Assistant Attorneys General Mike Martone and Kim McGee, Michele Lucan, chief of the Privacy Section and Michael Wertheimer, chief of the Consumer Protection Section are assisting the Attorney General in this matter.
Leading the investigation, involving a broad group of states across the country, is a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.