Cybersecurity » Coalition of 33 State Attorneys General Hits Meta With COPPA Suit

Coalition of 33 State Attorneys General Hits Meta With COPPA Suit

October 30, 2023

Coalition of 33 State Attorneys General Hits Meta With COPPA Suit

In 2021 Facebook announced plans to develop “Instagram Kids,” but seemingly ambushed by the blowback it generated from children’s advocates, state attorneys general, and legislators, the company threw in the towel.

As reported in Tech Policy Press, that misadventure was soon followed by the Facebook Files, a tranche of documents leaked by a former Facebook employee. They revealed that Meta had failed to fix its platforms’ ill effects on teen mental health that its own researchers had identified.

Now 33 attorneys general have filed a federal lawsuit against the company, now Meta. It alleges that Meta designed and deployed features that encourage addictive behavior it knew to be harmful to young users (13 and under) on Facebook and Instagram.

The State of Arizona, et al. v. Meta claims violations of the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule of 1995 (COPPA). The allegations are that Meta failed to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting children’s personal information; failed to provide adequate or sufficient notice to parents about the information it collects from their children, and how it uses that information; violated several state consumer protection laws by misrepresenting that its products are not harmful to young users, and not designed to encourage addiction.

“We share the attorneys general’s commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families,” Meta spokesperson Andy Stone said in a statement. “We’re disappointed that instead of working productively with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards for the many apps teens use, the attorneys general have chosen this path.”

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