Illinois joins lawsuit alleging Meta ‘targets children' with harmful business practices

NBC Universal, Inc.

Illinois is one of dozens of states that has joined a federal lawsuit alleging that Meta Platforms Inc., which operates Facebook, Instagram and other sites, uses harmful business practices to target children and to encourage them to spend unhealthy amounts of time on their platforms.

A total of 33 states have signed onto the federal lawsuit, filed this week. According to NBC News, another nine states are filing their own suits, bringing the total number of participating states to 42.

The federal suit was filed in the Northern District of California, alleging that Meta’s business model “seeks to capture as much user time and attention as possible to sell advertising,” according to a press release from Raoul’s office.

The suit also alleges that Meta’s practices have targeted youth in ways that “take advantage of them,” according to Raoul’s office.

“Our children are in crisis, and we need to act,” he said in a statement. “The addictive features on Meta’s social media platforms interfere with sleep and education, enable cyberbullying, and contribute to depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia and thoughts of self-harm.”

The suit also alleges that Meta violated the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act by collecting personal data from children under 13 without obtaining required parental permission.

NBC News obtained a statement from Meta following the filing of the suit.

“(We share) the attorneys general’s commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families,” the company said in a statement. “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.”

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