At the end of the last month, more than 30 US States, including California, Massachusetts, Tennesse, and others, filed lawsuits against Meta Platforms over the allegations of using features on its social media platforms to lure children and teens and allegedly get them hooked on harmful content, while not doing enough to ensure their safety. The Massachusetts lawsuit was earlier updated and the submissions were made unredacted, meaning the general public can go through its content. The claims and allegations in the documents paint a grim picture of how Facebook and Instagram were run, and how Mark Zuckerberg reportedly handled situations relating to teens.
Business Insider has reported after going through the Massachusetts filings and it has highlighted two particularly disturbing incidents. The first incident mentions that Meta Platform’s president of global affairs in 2021, Nick Clegg approached Zuckerberg highlighting a request raised by Instagram’s wellbeing team. The team asked for more staff members to address the “currently underinvested” areas of “problematic use, bullying+harassment, connections, [and Suicide and Self-Injury (SSI)]” for teen wellbeing.
Unredacted filings from Meta lawsuit makes big allegations
As per the report, Clegg told Zuckerberg that it was an “increasingly urgent” issue that could impact the mental health of young people. He also brought up the understaffed and fragmented nature of the team that was handling the teen wellbeing department. However, the report said citing the filings that Zuckerberg “ignored Clegg’s request for months”.
Another such account from the 102-page document alleges that Zuckerberg refused internal efforts to remove cosmetic surgery filters that were available on the platform’s native camera. These face filters would enhance the way they looked, often by improving one or more features or improving the quality of the skin tone.
As per the report, the lawsuit filing mentioned that in 2019, a Meta VP emailed the leadership to change its policies and remove such filters, which received unanimous support for the cause. But company CTO Andrew Bosworth noted that Zuckerberg questioned whether such filters actually “represented real harm”.
It should be noted that these allegations are part of the larger lawsuit against Meta Platforms that highlights that the company allegedly did not focus on keeping minors safe, and their authenticity has not been proven at this time.