Eight attorneys general launch nationwide investigation into Instagram

The investigation will look at the platform's impact on young people.


A group of eight attorneys general has launched an investigation into Instagram's impact on young people and potential violations of consumer protection laws.

The attorneys general claim Meta Platform, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, promoted Instagram to children and young adults despite knowing that using the social media platform is associated with physical and mental health harms.

Investigators said they will examine the company's conduct and look at whether it or others violated the law or put the public at risk.

"For too long, Meta has ignored the havoc that Instagram is wreaking on the mental health and well-being of our children and teens," said California Attorney General Rob Bonta. "Enough is enough."

The investigation will target the techniques Meta uses to keep young people on its platforms and the harms that extended use can cause, Bonta said.

In a statement to sister station KSBW, a Meta spokesperson called the accusations "false" and said they demonstrate "a deep misunderstanding of the facts."

"While challenges in protecting young people online impact the entire industry, we’ve led the industry in combating bullying and supporting people struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-injury, and eating disorders," a Meta spokesperson said in the statement.

The investigation is led by attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont.

Their investigation comes after the Facebook Papers uncovered that Meta's own internal research shows that using Instagram is associated with increased risks of physical and mental health harms, including depression, eating disorders and even suicide.