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AG Nessel joins nationwide investigation into Instagram's effect on mental health of young people

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Posted at 11:52 AM, Nov 19, 2021

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Friday joined a nationwide investigation into Instagram’s impact on young people.

The investigation into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, looks into the company’s promotion of 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.

“Rebranding your company does not excuse you from accepting responsibility for the harm inflicted by your social media platform,” Nessel said. “As recent congressional testimony has shown us, Meta’s own internal data makes clear the negative impact social media has on users, especially our youth, while the company profits. I’m proud to join my colleagues in this investigation. Given it is newly launched and ongoing, I will not be discussing any specifics beyond this announcement.”

The investigation targets – among other things – the techniques Meta utilized to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement.

Friday’s announcement followed 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.

RELATED: Instagram looks to make changes after research finds app harms teen girls' mental health

Back in May, Nessel was also part of a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general urging Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under age 13.

RELATED: Attorney General Nessel Joins Bipartisan Coalition Urging Facebook to Abandon Instagram Kids