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Court document claims Meta knowingly designed its platforms

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SAN FRANCISCO, Nov 27: Facebook parent Meta Platforms
deliberately engineered its social platforms to hook kids and
knew — but never disclosed — it had received millions of
complaints about underage users on Instagram but only
disabled a fraction of those accounts, according to a newly
unsealed legal complaint described in reports from The Wall
Street Journal and The New York Times.
The complaint, originally made public in redacted form, was the
opening salvo in a lawsuit filed in late October by the attorneys
general of 33 states.
Company documents cited in the complaint described several
Meta officials acknowledging the company designed its

products to exploit shortcomings in youthful psychology such as
impulsive behavior, susceptibility to peer pressure and the
underestimation of risks, according to the reports.
Others acknowledged Facebook and Instagram also were
popular with children under age 13 who, per company policy,
were not allowed to use the service.
Meta said in a statement to The Associated Press that the
complaint misrepresents its work over the past decade to make
the online experience safe for teens, noting it has “over 30
tools to support them and their parents.”
With respect to barring younger users from the service, Meta
argued age verification is a “complex industry challenge.”
Instead, Meta said it favors shifting the burden of policing
underage usage to app stores and parents, specifically by
supporting federal legislation that would require app stores to
obtain parental approval whenever youths under 16 download
One Facebook safety executive alluded to the possibility that
cracking down on younger users might hurt the company’s
business in a 2019 email, according to the Journal report.
But a year later, the same executive expressed frustration that
while Facebook readily studied the usage of underage users for
business reasons, it didn’t show the same enthusiasm for ways

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to identify younger kids and remove them from its platforms,
the Journal reported.
The complaint noted that at times Meta has a backlog of up to
2.5 million accounts of younger children awaiting action,
according to the newspaper reports. (AP)

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