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Office of the Vermont Attorney General

Attorney General Donovan Leads Nationwide Investigation into Instagram’s Impact on Young People

November 18, 2021

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced he is leading a nationwide investigation along with seven attorneys general into Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly known as Facebook, for providing and promoting its social media platform – Instagram – to children and young adults despite knowing that such use is associated with physical and mental health harms. The bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from across the country is examining whether the company violated state consumer protection laws and put the public at risk.

“Parents and caregivers have long been concerned with the negative impact of social media on children,” said Attorney General Donovan. “Recent revelations have confirmed those concerns, and it’s time to act. That’s why Vermont is co-leading this bipartisan investigation.”

The investigation targets, among other things, the techniques utilized by Meta to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users and the resulting harms caused by such extended engagement. Today’s announcement follows 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. Attorney General Donovan has long been concerned about the negative impacts of social media platforms on children. In May, Attorney General Donovan co-led a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general in urging Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.

Attorney General Donovan is joined in leading this investigation, involving a broad group of states across the country, by a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from California, Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

Last modified: November 18, 2021