Legal Woes Mount for Meta as US States Sue Over Child Safety Concerns

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In a recent development, the state of New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, along with CEO Mark Zuckerberg. New Mexico Attorney General Raul Torrez contends that Meta has inadequately protected children from sexual abuse, online solicitation, and human trafficking.

Torrez stated, “Our investigation into Meta’s social media platforms demonstrates that they are not safe spaces for children but rather prime locations for predators to trade child pornography and solicit minors for sex.”

The lawsuit alleges that Meta’s platforms facilitated adults in finding, contacting, and coercing children into providing explicit content. In response, Meta emphasized its use of advanced technology, employment of child safety experts, reporting of content to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and collaboration with law enforcement to combat predatory behavior.

This legal action follows similar suits from other states, such as Montana, which accused Meta of intentionally designing Instagram to be addictive, especially to minors. In October, over 40 U.S. states filed lawsuits against Meta, asserting that the company fueled a youth mental health crisis by fostering addictive social media platforms.

The attorneys general from 33 states, including California and New York, alleged that Meta misled the public about the risks of its platforms, knowingly encouraging addictive social media use among young children and teenagers. Eight additional states and Washington, D.C. lodged similar complaints.

These lawsuits represent a broader trend of legal actions against social media companies, including Meta, TikTok’s ByteDance, and Alphabet’s YouTube, on behalf of children and teenagers. Notably, Meta is also accused of intentionally evading children privacy laws, prompting U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Bill Cassidy to call for a halt to such practices.

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