According to Raoul’s office, he filed a lawsuit against the company that owns Facebook and Instagram for alleged harmful practices against children.
The lawsuit is backed by a coalition of 33 states and was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Raoul and other attorneys general allege Meta’s business model targets teenagers and younger kids in ways that take advantage of them.
“Our children are in crisis, and we need to act,” Raoul said. “The addictive features on Meta’s social media platforms interfere with sleep and education, enable cyberbullying, and contribute to depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia and thoughts of self-harm. I believe the action we are taking today against Meta is one of – if not the most – important consumer protection actions my office will take. The consequences will affect an entire generation of young people. I am committed to holding Meta, and any other responsible actors, accountable for putting profits ahead of our children.”
The coalition alleges Meta uses features on its social media platforms to exploit young users’ psychological vulnerabilities to keep them using the platforms longer. Raoul alleges many of these features are linked to damaging psychological outcomes.
“Smartphones and social media are almost universally in every young person’s hand and have the capacity to deeply harm and exacerbate mental health challenges for young people,” said Alexa James, who heads the National Alliance on Mental Illness. “This is a serious public health issue complicating a deeply serious mental health crisis our children and their families are already facing.”
The lawsuit alleges Meta violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting the personal information of children under the age of 13 without obtaining parental permission, as required by that statute.
The coalition is also asking the court to enter an injunction to stop Meta from continuing these unlawful practices.