Meta Faces Fresh Probe Over ‘Addictive’ Effect on Kids | EUROtoday

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The European Union has opened an investigation into Facebook and Instagram for the platforms’ doubtlessly addictive results on youngsters, echoing two comparable probes opened into TikTok earlier this yr.

Meta-owned platforms might be investigated for his or her addictive and “rabbit hole” results, and whether or not younger customers have been being fed an excessive amount of content material about despair or unrealistic physique photos. Investigators may even probe whether or not underage youngsters—under 13 years previous—are being successfully blocked from utilizing the providers.

“We are not convinced that Meta has done enough to comply with the DSA [Digital Services Act] obligations—to mitigate the risks of negative effects to the physical and mental health of young Europeans on its platforms Facebook and Instagram,” Thierry Breton, the EU’s inside markets commissioner who’s main the investigations, mentioned on X.

“We want young people to have safe, age-appropriate experiences online,” mentioned Meta spokesperson Kirstin MacLeod, including the corporate has developed greater than 50 instruments and insurance policies designed to guard younger individuals. “This is a challenge the whole industry is facing, and we look forward to sharing details of our work with the European Commission.”

The investigations into Meta and TikTok underneath the bloc’s new Digital Services Act guidelines have been separate, a Commission spokesperson mentioned, including that similarities between the circumstances merely mirrored resemblances in how the platforms work. “There are some competitive effects in the markets where some platforms copy other platforms’ features,” they mentioned.

The results of social media on youngsters has sparked intense debate in latest months, following the publication of the e-book The Anxious Generation by Jonathan Haidt. The NYU social psychologist argues that the prevalence of social media use amongst younger individuals is rewiring youngsters’s brains and making them extra anxious. In October, a coalition of US states sued Meta, alleging the corporate’s merchandise are dangerous to youngsters’s psychological well being.

The Digital Services Act is an expansive rulebook that goals to guard Europeans’ human rights on-line and took impact for the biggest platforms in August final yr. So far, the EU has investigations open into six platforms for various causes: AliExpress, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, TikTok Lite, and X. Under the Digital Services Act, platforms might be fined as much as 6 p.c of their world income.

After the EU launched an investigation right into a points-for-views reward system on TikTok Lite—a model of the app which makes use of much less information—the corporate mentioned it will droop the inducement following considerations about its influence on youngsters.

“Our children are not guinea pigs for social media,” Breton mentioned on the time.