NOV 18, 2021

AG Wilson joins nationwide investigation into Instagram’s impact on young people

Attorneys General concerned for safety and well-being of children; examining potential violations of consumer protection laws

(COLUMBIA, S.C.) - Attorney General Alan Wilson 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 that such use is associated with physical and mental health harms. Attorneys General across the country are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.

“As adults, especially those of us who are parents, we need to realize that social media companies do everything they can to encourage our kids to be on their platforms for as long as possible and to get as much personal information about them as possible,” Attorney General Wilson said. “That worries me, and it’s why attorneys general across the country need to use our authority under our consumer protection laws to investigate these social media platforms.”

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. AG Wilson has long been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on South Carolina’s youngest residents. In May, a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general, including Attorney General Wilson, urged Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.

Leading the investigation, involving a broad group of states across the country, is a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.

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For media inquiries please contact Robert Kittle, rkittle@scag.gov or 803-734-3670

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