Coalition of State Attorneys General Investigating Instagram’s Effects on Children
On November 18, 2021, a number of state attorneys general announced a joint investigation into whether Meta Platforms, Inc., has violated state consumer protection laws in connection with its promotion of Instagram to children and young adults. As part of the investigation, the attorneys general intend to look at potential harms to young users and the ways in which Instagram had designed its product features.
In particular, press releases issued by several attorneys general indicated that the investigation “targets, among other things, the techniques used by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement.” The press releases also referenced Meta’s internal research that “shows that using Instagram is associated with increased risks of physical and mental health harms on young people.”
The bipartisan coalition is led by California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont. The full list of states joining in the investigation is not yet public, although additional attorneys general in other states also have announced their participation (e.g., Wisconsin, Michigan). The District of Columbia Attorney General also is conducting an independent investigation into Instagram’s potential harms to children.