Multi-State Coalition Accuses Meta of Harming Youth on Social Mediaby@metaeatsbrains
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Multi-State Coalition Accuses Meta of Harming Youth on Social Media

by Save the Kids From MetaOctober 28th, 2023
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A group of state Attorneys General has launched legal action against Meta Platforms, Inc., the parent company of various social media platforms. The lawsuit, filed in federal court, asserts that Meta has employed deceptive and detrimental strategies that affect young users, leading to significant adverse effects on their well-being. The state Attorneys General from several states are pursuing remedies for the alleged misconduct, including injunctive relief.

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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 8 of 100.


22. The Defendants in this action include Meta Platforms, Inc. (Meta Platforms), Instagram, LLC (Instagram), Meta Payments, Inc. (Meta Payments), and Meta Platforms Technologies, LLC (Meta Technologies) (collectively, Meta).

23. Defendant Meta Platforms is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of business in Menlo Park, California. As relevant here, Meta Platforms, through itself or its subsidiaries, develops, markets, and operates Social Media Platforms and other internet-based Platforms and products including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp. Meta also develops, markets, and operates the VR Social Media Platform Horizon Worlds.

24. Meta Platforms transacts or has transacted business in this District, the Filing States, and throughout the United States. At all times material to this Complaint, acting alone or in concert with its subsidiaries (identified below), Meta Platforms has advertised, marketed, and distributed its Social Media Platforms to consumers throughout the United States.

25. Meta Platforms was formerly known as Facebook, Inc. until it changed its corporate name in October 2021. In 2004, Mark Zuckerberg founded the Social Media Platform The Facebook, while a student at Harvard University. At that time, Myspace was popular, along with websites like Friendster and Flickr. The Facebook spread among colleges via word of mouth and exclusive invitations and became more popular among young adults. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard to develop the Platform into a company, and it became known as Facebook.

26. Facebook’s popularity not only grew—it changed the entire landscape of the internet. In 2004, only 5% of U.S. adults used any social media platform. As of 2021, 69% of U.S. adults used Facebook alone.

27. Following the success of Facebook, Meta Platforms expanded through a series of acquisitions. On April 9, 2012, Meta Platforms purchased Instagram reportedly for $1 billion. Meta Platforms acquired Instagram in part because it believed that if Instagram grew to a large scale, it could be very disruptive to Facebook.

28. More importantly, Instagram was most popular among young users—a market where Meta was seeking to expand as Facebook’s primary audience aged and the Platform lost its “cool” factor.

29. By the end of 2016, Instagram grew to over 600 million users. By 2018, Instagram had revenues surpassing $10 billion, and it has been estimated to be valued at over $100 billion. An estimated 62% of teens in the United States regularly use Instagram.

30. Meta Platforms has also expanded into virtual reality gaming, hardware, and software, since acquiring the virtual reality headset creator Oculus in 2014.

31. In October 2021, Facebook rebranded the company to “Meta,” a move meant to encapsulate that its subsidiaries and products went beyond the Facebook Platform and to emphasize its work on the so-called “metaverse.”

32. As a result of acquisitions such as Instagram and Oculus, Meta Platforms has continued to dominate the market of Social Media Platforms and apps, becoming the largest social media company in the world. As of October 2023, Meta Platforms’ market capitalization— the value of the company—exceeded $800 billion.

33. At all times material to this Complaint, Meta Platforms formulated, directed, controlled, had the authority to control, or participated in the acts and practices set forth in this Complaint.

34. Defendant Meta Platforms currently operates its business primarily through its subsidiaries. Meta Platforms’ key subsidiaries include Instagram, Meta Payments, and Meta Platforms Technologies.

35. Defendant Instagram offers a mobile application that enables users to share content such as photographs and videos online and over social networks. Instagram is a limited liability company formed in Delaware, and shares its principal place of business in Menlo Park, California, with Meta Platforms. Defendant Meta Platforms is the sole member or manager of Instagram.

36. Defendant Meta Payments is incorporated in the State of Florida and shares its principal place of business in Menlo Park, California, with Meta Platforms. Meta Payments processes payments made through Meta’s Social Media Platforms. Meta Platforms directly owns Meta Payments, its subsidiary.

37. Defendant Meta Technologies is a Delaware limited liability company and shares its principal place of business in Menlo Park, California, with Meta Platforms. Previously known as Facebook Technologies, LLC, Meta Technologies has absorbed Meta’s Oculus business segment, which it acquired in 2014. Meta Technologies develops Meta’s virtual reality technology. Defendant Meta Platforms is the sole member or manager of Meta Technologies.

38. As detailed in the allegations below, Meta Platforms, itself and through its Defendant subsidiaries over which it exercises authority and control (collectively, Meta), has engaged in, and continues to engage in, unfair, deceptive, and unlawful activity in the Filing States and in this District.

39. Meta operates as a common enterprise. All Defendants have their principal place of business at Meta Platforms’ corporate headquarters in Menlo Park, California. As discussed below, senior executives at Meta Platforms, including Zuckerberg—Meta Platforms’ CEO, board chair, and controlling shareholder—exercise control over important policy and staffing decisions relating to its Social Media Platforms.

40. Meta also represents itself as a common enterprise. Meta’s financial disclosures describe Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp, as Meta’s “‘family’ of products,” and report revenue and expenses for the entire “family” together. Instagram’s Terms of Use agreement currently identifies “The Instagram Service” as “one of the Meta Products, provided to you by Meta Platforms, Inc.” Meta’s supplemental terms of service for its “Meta Platforms Technologies Products” is similarly styled as an agreement between Meta Platforms and the user. “Meta Platforms Technologies Products” are defined to include its VR-related products, such as its Meta Quest and Oculus virtual reality headsets, and Meta Horizon Worlds, its virtual reality Social Media Platform. Meta Platforms also reports its revenue from its VR business segment in its financial disclosures.

41. Meta’s corporate website represents the leaders of its subsidiaries as Meta’s “executives” alongside Zuckerberg and other Meta Platforms executives. For example, Adam Mosseri is identified as “Head of Instagram” and is described as having “been at Meta” for more than 11 years. Stephane Kasriel, the CEO of Meta Payments, is identified on Meta’s website as “the head of Commerce and Financial Technologies at Meta” who “oversees all commerce and fintech work across Meta’s technologies and platforms.”

42. [Redacted]

43. In addition to sharing a headquarters, [Redacted]

44. Because Meta operates as a common enterprise, each Defendant is jointly and severally liable for the acts and practices alleged below.

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This court case 4:23-cv-05448 retrieved on October 25, 2023, from 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.