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November 19, 2021
LANSING - Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel today joined 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.
"Rebranding your company does not excuse you from accepting responsibility for the harm inflicted by your social media platform," Nessel said. "As recent congressional testimony has shown us, Meta's own internal data makes clear the negative impact social media has on users, especially our youth, while the company profits. I'm proud to join my colleagues in this investigation. Given it is newly launched and ongoing, I will not be discussing any specifics beyond this announcement."
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.
AG Nessel has long been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Michigan's youngest residents.
In May, Nessel was part of a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urging Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.
In October, she joined a bipartisan coalition of 52 attorneys general expressing strong support for the hearings being conducted by the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security addressing protection and safety of kids and teens using social media. The latest hearing took place Oct. 26.