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SC attorney general joins nationwide investigation of Instagram

South Carolina has joined a nationwide investigation of Instagram regarding the social media...
South Carolina has joined a nationwide investigation of Instagram regarding the social media platform's marketing and availability to young people and the potential harm it could cause them.(Storyblocks)
Published: Nov. 18, 2021 at 4:31 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 18, 2021 at 5:17 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - South Carolina has become one of the latest states to join a national probe of Instagram and how its marketing may harm younger users of the social media service.

Meta Platforms, Inc., Instagram’s parent company, is being investigated “for providing and promoting” Instagram to children and young adults “despite knowing that such use is associated with physical and mental health harms,” Attorney General’s Office spokesman Robert Kittle said.

Attorneys general across the country are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk, he said.

“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,” South Caorlina Attorney General Alan 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, Kittle said.

Thursday’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.

The investigation involves a broad group of states and is a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.

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