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EU probes Meta’s Role In Making Facebook, Instagram Addictive For Children

The investigation mirrors allegations in lawsuits against Meta in the United States: To date, 41 states and Washington, DC have sued the company, alleging Meta knowingly made both Instagram’s and Facebook’s designs and algorithms addictive and did not do enough to safeguard children on the platforms.

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The European Commission is formally investigating Meta to establish whether the design and algorithms used by Instagram and Facebook are addictive for children, regulators announced Thursday.

The investigation comes under the auspices of the Digital Services Act, a law passed in 2022 that requires online platforms to have strict child safety measures. In a statement, the Commission said Meta’s products may “exploit the weakness and inexperience of minors,” and that their apps’ algorithms create “rabbit-hole effects.”

The Commission also questioned the effectiveness of the apps’ age verification tools, and minors’ privacy on the apps. If found in violation of the DSA, Meta could face a fine of up to 6% of its global revenue, and be forced to make major changes to the apps if it wants to keep doing business in the EU.

The investigation mirrors allegations in lawsuits against Meta in the United States: To date, 41 states and Washington, DC have sued the company, alleging Meta knowingly made both Instagram’s and Facebook’s designs and algorithms addictive and did not do enough to safeguard children on the platforms.

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