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HomeNewsMontana NewsMontana attorney general sues Meta over ‘deceptive practices’

Montana attorney general sues Meta over ‘deceptive practices’

Lawsuit alleges Instagram of exposing minors to inappropriate content and improperly collecting their data.

Montana’s Attorney General, Austin Knudsen, has initiated legal action against Meta, the parent company overseeing Facebook and Instagram. Alleging that Instagram was purposely designed to foster addiction and that certain content on the widely-used social media platform violates the state’s consumer protection laws, the lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court this week. This legal move is part of the state’s broader effort to hold social media entities accountable.

Earlier this year, Montana Governor Greg Gianforte enacted a bill preventing app stores from offering TikTok for download. However, a U.S. District Judge temporarily halted the bill’s implementation through a preliminary injunction.

In a statement, Knudsen emphasized the need for Meta to be held responsible for what he characterizes as deceptive practices and resulting harm. He specifically pointed to Instagram’s deliberately addictive design and its failure to address the prevalence of detrimental content, such as explicit drug promotion and sexual exploitation, particularly concerning the mental health and well-being of young Montanans.

The lawsuit against Meta seeks both a preliminary and permanent injunction, compelling Instagram to cease its allegedly deceptive and unfair representations regarding explicit sexual content and drug use. The state could potentially levy civil penalties of up to $10,000 for each violation under Montana’s Consumer Protection Act, citing the platform’s misrepresentations.

Knudsen highlighted leaked internal documents that purportedly reveal Meta’s awareness of the harm inflicted on minors. Despite this knowledge, the company allegedly continued to assert to parents that its product was safe for children, rather than taking corrective measures. The Attorney General emphasized his commitment to protecting the rights and well-being of Montanans, asserting that social media companies must comply with state laws and prioritize the safety and privacy of citizens.

By: Montanan Newsroom staff

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