FRANKFORT, KY – Attorney General Daniel Cameron is suing Meta, the parent company of social media sites Facebook and Instagram, for purposefully harming the mental health of Kentucky children and teens.
The lawsuit, brought by General Cameron and 41 attorneys general on behalf of their states, alleges that Meta knowingly designed and deployed addictive features that put Kentucky's youngest residents at risk despite claiming the features were safe.
"Protecting the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable remains my utmost priority," said General Cameron. "Meta has disingenuously downplayed the devastating effects of its platforms to exploit every scroll, click, and tap of our youth. This social media giant must stop these reckless actions and must be held accountable. I'm proud to stand alongside Kentucky parents and to fight for Kentucky kids."
Meta maximized profits by monetizing children's addiction. Features like infinite scroll and near-constant alerts were created with the express goal of hooking young people, according to former employees, and its algorithms push users into descending "rabbit holes" in an effort to maximize engagement.
The social media company also targeted young users to maximize their profits, calling them a "valuable, but untapped market." The attorneys general further assert that Meta is aware that users under the age of 13 are active on the platforms and knowingly collected data from them without parental consent.
Meta has falsely assured the public that these manipulative tactics are safe. Reports reveal that the social media giant knew the techniques negatively impacted young people's physical and mental health, such as undermining their ability to get adequate sleep. However, Meta failed to make meaningful changes to minimize the harmful effects.
The impact on our youngest citizens is profound. These practices continue to harm young people's mental health, fueling what the U.S. Surgeon General has deemed a "youth mental health crisis," which has ended lives, devastated families, and damaged the potential of a generation of youth across Kentucky and the United States.
Kentucky and 32 states filed a federal complaint, arguing Meta's business practices violate state consumer protection laws and the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection Act. In parallel complaints filed in state courts, eight other states have made similar allegations. General Cameron seeks injunctive and monetary relief to rectify the harm caused to young Kentuckians.
These lawsuits result from a bipartisan, nationwide investigation co-led by General Cameron. Attorneys general nationwide have worked together to investigate Meta for exploiting children and young adults.
General Cameron has remained vigilant about the impact of social media usage on young people. He is currently co-leading a nationwide investigation into TikTok for similar conduct and concerns. Last year, he joined a bipartisan coalition urging TikTok and Snapchat to implement stronger parental controls within their platforms.
View the complaint here.
After Co-leading Nationwide Investigation,