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Attorney General O'Connor Joins Nationwide Investigation into Instagram's Impact on Young People

OKLAHOMA CITY - Attorney General John O’Connor joined a nationwide investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform – Instagram – to children and young adults despite knowing that such use is associated with physical and mental health harms. Attorneys General across the country are examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.

“The Office of the Oklahoma Attorney has a duty to protect those who are most vulnerable to exploitation,” said General O’Connor. “Our office is invested in protecting against social media’s harmful effects on the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of children.”

The investigation targets, among other things, the techniques utilized by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement. The 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. Attorney General O’Connor has long been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on Oklahoma’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.

Leading the investigation is a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Vermont.

A copy of the May 2021 NAAG letter to Facebook is available