Uncovering the Meta Lawsuits: A Deep Dive into Allegations and Defense (2024)


In recent times, Meta Platforms, the parent company of social media giants Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has found itself entangled in a web of legal challenges. Dozens of states have joined forces in a historic move, filing lawsuits against Meta, accusing it of luring children onto its platforms and fostering addiction. In this article, we will delve into the core allegations, the evidence presented, and Meta's defense.

The Genesis of Lawsuits

The lawsuits stem from a confluence of events starting with the release of the docudrama "The Social Dilemma" in the fall of 2020. This documentary shed light on the psychological manipulation tactics employed by social media platforms. Subsequently, Meta's announcement of developing Instagram for Kids raised concerns among attorneys general from multiple states.

Allegation 1: Designing Intentionally Addictive Features

The crux of the lawsuits revolves around the claim that Meta, especially Instagram, deliberately designed addictive features. The states argue that the platform functions as a social media slot machine, keeping users endlessly engaged. The addictive nature is attributed to the absence of a natural endpoint, making it challenging for young users to disengage.

Moreover, Instagram's barrage of notifications, coupled with social pressures and the fear of missing out, adds to the alleged addictive design. The lawsuits contend that these features override the cognitive functions of young users, leading to compulsive use with severe psychological consequences.

Allegation 2: Knowingly Concealing Harms

The second major allegation is that Meta knew about the harms caused by its platform, particularly to the mental health of young users, and actively concealed this information. Internal documents obtained by the states allegedly reveal that Meta conducted research on teen mental health, showing negative outcomes. Despite this knowledge, company executives purportedly downplayed the risks in public statements.

Examples include internal projects like Project Daisy, which aimed to mitigate the negative impacts of likes on mental health. The lawsuits claim that Meta, despite acknowledging the harm, did not implement effective changes, raising questions about the company's commitment to user well-being.

Allegation 3: Allowing Underage Users

Meta's terms of use explicitly state that users under the age of 13 cannot create accounts on Instagram. However, the lawsuits argue that Meta facilitated underage sign-ups. Initially, a dropdown menu reportedly suggested birthdates that made users appear over 13 by default. Even after modifications, the ease of providing false information allegedly led to millions of underage users violating privacy laws.

Meta's Defense

In response to the allegations, Meta asserts a significant and ongoing investment in protecting young users. The company emphasizes the existence of over 30 tools and resources dedicated to teen safety on its platforms. Meta challenges the lawsuits, claiming selective quoting and a lack of contextual understanding of its operations.

Regarding underage users, Meta highlights its proactive removal of accounts violating age restrictions and points to the terms of service that prohibit users under 13. The company denies the deliberate design of addictive features and contests the comparison to big tobacco, emphasizing the value its apps add to users' lives.


The lawsuits against Meta represent a pivotal moment in the ongoing discourse around the impact of social media on young users. As legal proceedings unfold, the outcomes could influence not only Meta's practices but also set a precedent for the entire social media landscape. The battle between states and Meta is not just about legalities; it's a clash over the ethical responsibilities of tech giants towards the well-being of their users, especially the vulnerable younger demographic.

Uncovering the Meta Lawsuits: A Deep Dive into Allegations and Defense (2024)
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