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Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody Takes Aim At Instagram & Its Effects On Kids

TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF/AP) -- Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and attorneys general from seven other states are launching an investigation focused on the use of the Instagram social-media platform and its effects on children and young adults.

Moody announced the probe Thursday, after Instagram's parent company, Meta Platforms, Inc., formerly Facebook, has faced widespread questions about how Instagram use can affect the mental health of children.

Those questions have stemmed, at least in part, from internal company information leaked to The Wall Street Journal that shows the company knew about the harms Instagram can cause teenagers, especially teen girls, when it comes to mental health and body image issues.

"We have serious concerns about how social media is impacting the lives of young people in this country, and as a mother, I want to know how Facebook/Meta is targeting youth and what strategies this Big Tech giant is using to entice children and teens to lengthen engagement on its platforms," Moody said in a prepared statement.

The other attorneys general are from California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vermont.

The investigation targets, among other things, the techniques Meta uses to keep young people on its platforms — and the harms that extended time spent on Instagram can cause.

In a statement, Meta spokesperson Liza Crenshaw called the accusations "false" and said they demonstrate "a deep misunderstanding of the facts."

"While challenges in protecting young people online impact the entire industry, we've led the industry in combating bullying and supporting people struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-injury, and eating disorders," Crenshaw said in the statement.

(©2021 CBS Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida and the Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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