COURTS & LEGAL

Utah sues Facebook, Instagram with claims they trap children into excessive, harmful use

Oct 24, 2023, 10:54 AM | Updated: 10:21 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and Attorney General Sean Reyes announced on Tuesday that the state of Utah filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms — the parent company of Facebook — and its Instagram subsidiary. Utah is one of 42 states filing similar lawsuits.

The lawsuit claims the social platforms “trap children in excessive, harmful use that causes serious mental health issues.”

“Meta also deceived parents and young users about the safety of using Instagram and Facebook,” a media release from the governor’s office said.

The lawsuit was filed just two weeks after a similar suit was filed against TikTok by the state, alleging that their platform also harms children.

“Just as litigation effectively spurred change by the opioid pharmaceutical industry and Big Tobacco, we expect this lawsuit will inspire Meta to improve its child safety practices,” Cox said in the media release. “Regulating social media companies to protect minors is not a partisan issue, and most people across the political spectrum agree we cannot allow addictive algorithms and deceptive practices to continue harming our children. This action shows we will continue to fight for the mental health and well-being of our kids.”

The lawsuit brings two main accusations, the first being that Meta has crafted its platform to capture young children in “harmful cycles of excessive use through deceptive and addictive features.” The second count is that Meta deceived parents and consumers about the risks of the platform and its intentions to trap children.

The state claims that both major accusations are illegal practices under state law.

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Utah sues Facebook, Instagram with claims they trap children into excessive, harmful use