California leads with purpose, standing at the legal forefront. It heads a formidable coalition, steadfast against Meta’s goliaths. California’s leadership galvanizes thirty-three attorneys general, leading a charge for accountability. This legal unity, headed by California, signals a nationwide call for corporate responsibility in the digital realm.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta is spearheading a legal action involving 33 state attorneys general against Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, alleges that Meta has employed features within its apps that have a detrimental impact on children and teenagers, causing harm to their well-being.
Nationwide Investigation Unveils Concerns
This comprehensive legal effort is the outcome of a nationwide investigation initiated in November 2021. As part of this endeavor, eight of the attorneys general have taken the additional step of filing lawsuits against Meta in state courts.
Protecting Children and Teens
California Attorney General Rob Bonta expressed the importance of this legal action, stating, “Meta has been harming our children and teens, cultivating addiction to boost corporate profits.” He emphasized the need to protect children and adolescents and underlined the collaborative nature of this lawsuit among state attorneys general.
Legal Violations Alleged
The federal lawsuit contends that Meta, under the leadership of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, has violated various federal and state laws. These violations encompass the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, designed to safeguard the online privacy of children under 13. Additionally, Meta is accused of violating California’s False Advertising Law and Unfair Competition Law, which prohibit fraudulent and unfair business practices.
Seeking an End to Harmful Practices
The states involved are seeking legal remedies to end Meta’s practices that they believe infringe upon federal and state laws. They are also pursuing monetary relief related to damages and attorney fees. The lawsuit claims that Meta has structured its business model to maximize the time young users spend on its platforms. It further alleges that the company employs harmful and psychologically manipulative platform features while providing misleading information about their safety.
A Multistate Effort
A coalition of states, including Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, have joined California in this legal action.
Florida has initiated its federal lawsuit, joined by the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Utah, and Vermont, who have filed related actions in their respective state courts.
Furthermore, California Attorney General Rob Bonta is conducting an ongoing investigation into TikTok for alleged harm to youth, reflecting the state’s commitment to safeguarding the well-being of young users in the digital landscape.