DES MOINES, Iowa – Attorney General Tom Miller last Thursday joined a nationwide investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting Instagram to children and young adults despite knowing that such use is associated with physical and mental health harms.
A bipartisan group of attorneys general across the country is examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.
“I’m increasingly concerned about how Instagram’s algorithms capture the attention of children and how its content affects their physical, emotional, and mental well-being,” Miller said.
The investigation targets, among other things, the techniques used by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement.
Thursday’s announcement follows recent reports revealing that Meta’s own internal research shows that using Instagram is associated with increased risks of physical and mental health harms on young people, including depression, eating disorders, and even suicide.
Miller has long been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Iowa’s youngest residents. In May, a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urged Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.