© 2024 KGOU
Oklahoma sunset
News and Music for Oklahoma
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Oklahoma sues social media giant Meta for fueling anxiety, depression among kids

Meta headquarters.
Tony Avelar
Meta headquarters.

Oklahoma has filed a lawsuit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram.

According to the suit filed in Osage County, Meta hooked children into staying on its platforms through psychologically harmful features. These features include the ability to “infinite scroll,” the ability to compare and “like” content from other users, and algorithms designed to make viewers intermittently feel pleasure.

“With these allegations in mind, the state of teen mental health in Oklahoma cannot be ignored. In the decade ending in 2021, the percentage of teens who reported having felt so consistently sad or hopeless that they discontinued their usual activities increased by more than 50%,” reads the lawsuit.

Meta drove engagement to collect ad revenue and profitably gather information on users, says the filing.

In a press release, state Attorney General Gentner Drummond wrote Meta “has enriched itself” by fueling “the youth mental health crisis we are facing by taking advantage of vulnerable children and teens with unfair and deceptive practices.”

Oklahoma’s allegations against the social media giant come as 33 other states are suing Meta in federal court for similar reasons. Attorneys general across the country point to internal company research exposed by the Wall Street Journal documenting that Meta knew about social media’s ill effects.

According to one company study, 32% of teen girls who already didn’t like their bodies felt worse after looking at Instagram.

Oklahoma is one of eight states filing against Meta in state court. Experts compare the actions to suits against opioid companies and Big Tobacco.

This report was produced by the Oklahoma Public Media Exchange, a collaboration of public media organizations. Help support collaborative journalism by donating at the link at the top of this webpage.

More News
Support nonprofit, public service journalism you trust. Give now.