NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The state of Tennessee is suing Meta Platforms, Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram over knowingly being harmful to minors, according to Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti.
“They have the capacity to stop hurting people,” Skrmetti said in a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “They have chosen not to do that because the more time and the more data they get from young users, the more money they make.”
The lawsuit states Meta “flagrantly and repeatedly engaged in unfair and deceptive conduct at the expense of consumers – young users especially – across the country and in Tennessee,” essentially accusing the company of preying on children’s mental health through Instagram.
“Instead of warning people or changing the platform, Meta doubled down, continued doing the things that hurt kids, and covered it up,” Skrmetti said.
There are 33 states that filed a lawsuit in federal court, while another nine filed in their respective states. Tennessee is one of those nine, attaching several studies of the effect of Instagram on children’s mental health and well-being.
“We know that America is in the middle of a mental health crisis for teens,” Skrmetti said. “If you look at statistics over the last decade, they’ve fallen off a cliff.”
News 2 did reach out to Meta for comment. In response to the lawsuit, a spokesperson provided a comment:
“We share the attorneys general’s [sic] commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families. We’re disappointed that instead of working productively with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards for the many apps teens use, the attorneys general have chosen this path.“