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Smartphone with Meta logo: the company denies the accusations of the prosecutors

Photo: Christoph Dernbach / dpa

Massive headwind for Meta: Several dozen US states have sued the US tech company because of the increased risk of addiction to its social networks such as Facebook or Instagram. In a lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court in Oakland, California, 33 states accuse Meta of repeatedly deceiving the public about the significant mental health dangers of its social media platforms.

Among other things, the states accuse Meta of developing a business model in which children and young people spend more time on the platform. Meta was aware that young users were easier to influence for this: The states denounced, among other things, the "Like" functions and the notifications that repeatedly lured them to the screens.

The use of the platforms interferes with learning behavior and sleep – and the services promote problems such as eating disorders, the more than 200-page complaint continues. Meta knows that functions of the online platforms are harmful and addictive, the plaintiff states also claim.

"Meta has harnessed powerful and unprecedented technologies to seduce teens and teens," the complaint reads. "Their motive is profit." The lawsuit calls for a number of remedies, including significant civil penalties.

The company said it has made efforts to make social media apps safe for teens. The company asserts that it "shares the commitment of the Attorneys General to providing safe and positive online experiences for youth and has already rolled out over 30 tools to support youth and their families."

"We are disappointed that the attorneys general have chosen this path instead of productively working with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards for the many apps used by youth," the company continued.