Instagram’s parent-company Meta is being probed by a consortium of US states over allegations that it supplied the photo-sharing platform to children despite knowing of potential harm, in fresh trouble for the scandal-hit giant, officials said Thursday.
Facebook is battling one of its most serious reputational crises yet after a whistleblower leaked reams of internal documents showing executives knew of their sites’ potential for harm, prompting a renewed US push for regulation.
“Facebook, now Meta, has failed to protect young people on its platforms and instead chose to ignore or, in some cases, double down on known manipulations that pose a real threat to physical and mental health — exploiting children in the interest of profit,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey said in a statement.
The consortium of attorneys general — states’ top law enforcement officials and legal advisors — includes New York, Colorado and others. A full list has not been released.
The leaked documents have underpinned a deluge of damning stories, including blaming CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his platform bending to state censors and highlighting how the site has stoked anger in the name of keeping users engaged.
Facebook has already noted in a regulatory filing that from September “it became subject to government investigations and requests” relating to the documents leaked to lawmakers and regulators.
The company changed its parent company name to “Meta” in October as the tech giant tries to move past being a scandal-plagued social network to its virtual reality vision for the future.