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WA State Attorney General Bob Ferguson released a statement about the social media giant Meta recently unsealing a lot of previously 'classified' information about its business practices.

  Ferguson says the information shows Meta intentionally put growth and profit ahead of child, teen 'safety'

His release included this comment:

“The evidence is clear — Mark Zuckerberg and Meta’s top executives knew and disregarded the extensive risks that addictive features on Instagram and Facebook posed to children."

 According to the complaint, which now includes the classified information from Meta, a number of efforts were made to purposefully target children and teens with content designed to encourage them to spend more time on the platforms. Meta, according to the data, also illegally gathered and stored data about younger users.

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The new Meta information lays out how the company targets younger users. Page 18 of the complaint reveals this:

"Meta is financially motivated to attract and retain young users on its Social Media Platforms and has been for many years. As one Meta product designer summarized in an internal email, “[s]hort summary is the ‘the [sic] young ones are the best ones.’ You want to bring people to your service young and early.”

It also contained this information:

"Meta is constantly collecting and reviewing data on young users’ activity on its Platforms. As a Director of Product Management at Instagram stated in January 2020, he was “focused on getting a very clear understanding of our current US DAP [Daily Active People] and MAP [Monthly Active People] growth situation, opportunities, and challenges because 1) US Teens are our #1 cohort for both long-term growth of IG and FB Family incrementality.”

And also this:

,"... because advertisers want to target ads to young users, Meta permits targeting of advertising to teenagers based on their age, gender, and location. As one Meta employee expressed in an August 2017 email, one of Meta’s “Longer-term Focus Areas” was how to “get teens to share their location with us so we can leverage that data for awesome product experiences and also analytics around high schools.”

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The new information in the complaint also points out that, according to the court documents, multiple illegal, potentially illegal, and harmful methods were used to encourage longer usage by children and teens.

 

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