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Meta sued by 42 state attorneys general over "addictive" Facebook/Instagram features that target children

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The lawsuits demonstrate the broad bipartisan interest in protecting kids and teens from online harm.




A bipartisan group of 42 attorneys general is suing Meta, alleging that features on its Facebook and Instagram social media platforms are addictive and are aimed at kids and teens, the group announced Tuesday. The support from so many state attorneys general of different political backgrounds indicates a significant legal challenge to Meta’s business.


Meta is now facing multiple lawsuits on this issue in several districts. Attorneys general from 33 states filed a federal suit against Meta in the Northern District of California, while nine additional attorneys general are filing in their own states, according to a press release from New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office. Besides New York, the states that filed the federal suit include California, Colorado, Louisiana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Washington and Wisconsin.


The lawsuits are another demonstration of the bipartisan priority state law enforcers have placed on protecting kids and teens from online harm.



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Reading through the complaint now, and the part that stands out to me is are the allegations that Meta broke the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). That should be a fairly straightforward case to make that is clearly violating a specific standard. Sure, there are nuances there with opt-in vs opt out, the amount of effort they're obligated to put into obtaining records and how exactly the data collected is used, but it's law that outlines what they should be doing and if Meta didn't handle all that correctly, these Attorney's General should be able to show that.


The rest of the complaint is far from straightforward and seems like a difficult case for government to make. I'm sure that they'll be able to show that Meta built their business to maximize attention, but going on to show that Meta specifically developed harmful features that they knew were dangerous is a higher bar to clear. Some of the features they're specifically going after are Likes, notifications, and infinite scrolling. Those aren't so much unique harms that Meta employs as they are fundamentals of social media.


There will be a lot about what Meta knows and when they knew it, but while whistleblowers have long since leaked some of the worse bits of their internal research, Meta has been putting out tons of other research to the contrary for years. It's easy to imagine Zuck on the stand saying that when he gets 1 data point in direction A and 5 points in direction B, he's more inclined to believe B.


I'm sure there's plenty more in there that I might get around to, but I had to laugh at when they argue that Meta is "expanding the use of these new practices into new Platforms and domains. This includes, for example, Meta's Virtual Reality Metaverse, where young users are immersed into Meta's new Horizon Worlds platform;"


I don't doubt that Meta is doing whatever they can to keep people using Horizon Worlds, but it's famously a flop that they've recently lowered their already low expectations on. Bringing up Horizon Worlds is like bringing up the Wii U when you're trying to show how successful Nintendo had been with the Wii.

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1 hour ago, Keyser_Soze said:


Too many pregnant Elsa and Barbie videos?

Nah just like annoying 20-somethings scream reacting to whatever video game they’re playing or video they’re watching. Really boring shit. My oldest turns into an absolute monster after even half an hour watching that stuff. Won’t turn it off or react to you. Screams and cries when you force him to. And he’ll sit and watch for hours if you let him. 

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