LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge 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 it has been associated with physical and mental health harms. Rutledge and the coalition of attorneys general are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws, including the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and put the public at risk.
“Big tech’s influence on our society has led our youth to believing their self-worth is based on likes and views,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “As a mother of a young daughter, it’s important to thoroughly investigate big tech for their impact they are having on our children and hold them accountable for their actions.
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. Rutledge has long been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Arkansas’s youngest residents. In May, a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urged Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.
Leading the investigation is a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.