October 25 – Forty-two states are suing the social media giant Meta, alleging that Instagram was made addictive to children – on purpose.
Interestingly, the tech oligarchs in the companies don’t allow their own children to participate in Facebook, Instagram or TikTok.
Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM suggested, “It looks like just a money grab. We’ve known about it for a very long time and they see deep pockets, in my opinion.”
Attorney Clint Barkdoll agreed, “I think that’s what’s happening. As I’ve said for the past year, this is going to be big tobacco 2.0 because remember, hundreds and hundreds of school districts around the country have now filed the same action against Meta and social media companies. Well now the state governments are getting on board and I can envision down the road you could just see a massive settlement pot that’s going to be established that these school districts and now state governments will dip into.”
The states are claiming they now need to use state money to address mental health problems resulting from social media addiction.
Barkdoll said, “The states are alleging that Meta is aware that these platforms are addictive and not only are they doing nothing to prevent it or to stop it, they’ve actually taken steps to exploit it, to even make people more addicted to it. All of our states in the tri state area have joined the suit. A couple states, I think Florida is one, they have sued independently. They want to keep the case in their local courts. But you’ll likely see these all get wrapped together at some point. It’s not out of the question you could see a settlement fund well into the billions and billions of dollars that all of these entities will eventually split up.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM asked, “But is there a demand for change? I mean, okay, they pay a lot of money and then it gets to the state which then filters it down, which never is used very efficiently. Are they demanding any changes from these companies to stop this way that they’re poisoning children?”
Barkdoll said, “That is part of these lawsuits both from the school districts and the states. They are demanding that certain safety features be enhanced or created. One of the requests from the states is that no one under a certain age should even be allowed to have an account. That’s something that’s been kicked around now for a few years. They also want Facebook to stop using the algorithms that would allow sharing of data and browsing information for users that then push out ads to them. Remember the Facebook whistleblower, she said that they were using this all the time on Instagram, targeting teenage girls in particular, and it was really having adverse mental health effects. So these are the sorts of things that the suits would likely demand be reformed or removed outright from these platforms.”