A Vermont Superior Court has granted Attorney General Charity Clark’s request to unseal her lawsuit against Meta regarding Instagram’s harms to youth. The unsealed complaint makes public details of Meta’s conduct that were previously confidential. Attorney General Clark announced in October that she had sued Meta to hold the company accountable for its contribution to the mental health crisis facing teens in America and Vermont. At the time of filing, much of the lawsuit included confidential material that was not yet available to the public. The lawsuit is now fully available for public viewing.
The newly unsealed complaint exposes allegations about:
- How Meta studied neurological and cognitive vulnerabilities in teen brains and designed Instagram to use those vulnerabilities to addict teens to the platform;
- How, for years, Meta has studied Instagram’s impact on teens’ well-being and repeatedly found that Instagram is addictive and causes harms to teens and particularly to teen girls, including negative social comparison, anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying, harassment, unwanted sexual contact, and exposure to content promoting eating disorders, self-harm, and suicide; and
- How Meta has concealed these internal findings from the public—and, in some cases, its own employees—while publicly promoting misleading statistics on Instagram’s safety.
In addition, the unsealed complaint alleges:
- Efforts by senior Meta employees to make Meta’s executive leadership—including CEO Mark Zuckerberg—aware of Instagram’s harms to youth;
- The unwillingness of Meta’s executive leadership to meaningfully change Instagram despite these known ongoing harms; and
- The concern and frustration of some senior employees at the unwillingness of Meta’s executive leadership to address this critical public health issue.
The Attorney General’s lawsuit against Meta for alleged violations of the Vermont Consumer Protection Act is ongoing. The next step in the lawsuit is for Meta to respond to the Attorney General’s complaint by January 19, 2024.
A copy of the unsealed complaint can be found here.
CONTACT: Lauren Jandl, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171