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Facebook and Instagram's Utilization of Dopamine-Driven Features to Foster User Engagementby@metaeatsbrains
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Facebook and Instagram's Utilization of Dopamine-Driven Features to Foster User Engagement

by Save the Kids From MetaNovember 1st, 2023
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This document delves into Meta's use of "Likes" on their social media platforms and their potential negative impact on young users. It questions Meta's decisions to downplay these effects and discusses the visibility of Like counts. It also highlights Project Daisy, a feature that could hide Like counts, which was not implemented as a default for young users, and suggests that Meta made false representations regarding its decision.

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The United States v Meta Platforms Court Filing October 24, 2023 is part of HackerNoon’s Legal PDF Series. You can jump to any part in this filing here. This is part 19 of 100.

5. Meta’s use of social comparison features such as “Likes” also promotes compulsive use and mental health harms for young users.

226. Meta’s Social Media Platforms contain additional design features that exacerbate social comparison, such as the quantification and display of Like counts on each piece of content on Instagram and Facebook.


227. Likes are a quick way for users to express validation or approval of other users’ photos or videos, by clicking or tapping a heart icon or the iconic thumbs-up icon. Likes were developed by Meta between 2010 and 2013.


228. [Redacted] Despite that knowledge, Meta has elected to publicly downplay its negative effects on young users rather than eliminating the feature for young users or truthfully disclosing its negative effects.


229-250. [Redacted]


251. As of October 2023, Like counts on all users’ posts remain visible by default on Instagram and Facebook.


252. Rather than removing visible Like counts for all users by default [Redacted], users who wish to hide Like counts from posts in their Instagram or Facebook Feeds must navigate submenus of preferences to affirmatively opt in.


253. Meta could have, at a minimum, hidden Like counts for young users of Instagram and Facebook, but it declined to do so. Instead, Meta continues to show young users Like counts for all content in its Social Media Platforms by default.


254. [Redacted]


255. [Redacted] Meta continues to quantify and display social statistics such as Likes on its Platforms by default.


256-260. [Redacted]


261. [Redacted] Meta chose to continue displaying Like counts and to continue prioritizing the display of “popular” posts.


262-264. [Redacted]


265. [Redacted] Indeed, in the context of discussing whether Like counts should remain visible at WIRED’s annual conference on November 8, 2019, Mosseri publicly stated that “[w]e will make decisions that hurt the business if they’re good for people’s well-being and health . . . .”


266-272. [Redacted]


273. [Redacted] Meta declined to implement Project Daisy as a default for young users, only making it available to young users as an opt-in setting.


274-283. [Redacted]


284. A May 26, 2021 Meta blog post, titled “Giving People More Control on Instagram and Facebook,” claimed that although the company tested Daisy “to see if it might depressurize people’s experience on Instagram,” Meta had decided not to implement it as a default because “not seeing like counts was beneficial for some, and annoying to others.”


285-287. [Redacted]


288. Through these and other public statements, Meta falsely represented that Project Daisy was not implemented by default in Instagram and Facebook because Meta lacked evidence that the Platform changes tested in Project Daisy were beneficial to the mental health and wellbeing of its users—or because the impact of removing visible Like counts was too “individualized” to be beneficial as a default setting applicable to a general audience.


289-298. [Redacted]



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This court case 4:23-cv-05448 retrieved on October 25, 2023, from Washingtonpost.com is part of the public domain. The court-created documents are works of the federal government, and under copyright law, are automatically placed in the public domain and may be shared without legal restriction.