Since at least 2019, Meta has knowingly refused to shut down the majority of accounts belonging to children under the age of 13 while collecting their personal information without their parents’ consent, a newly unsealed court document from an ongoing federal lawsuit against the social media giant alleges.
Attorneys general from 33 states have accused Meta of receiving more than a million reports of under-13 users on Instagram from parents, friends and online community members between early 2019 and mid-2023. However, “Meta disabled only a fraction of those accounts,” the complaint states.
The federal complaint calls for court orders prohibiting Meta from the practices the attorneys general allege violate the law. Civil penalties could add up to hundreds of millions of dollars, as Meta allegedly hosts millions of users who are teens and children. Most states are seeking anywhere between $1,000 to $50,000 in fines per violation.
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