Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and 51 other attorneys general across the nation wrote a letter to Congress urging them to address concerns of social media’s impact on children and teens.
Raoul, part of a bipartisan coalition of 51 other attorneys general, wrote a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Data Security expressing concerns over social media’s impact on children and teens.
The concerns grew after recent research from Facebook’s own studies show Instagram is harmful for many children, especially teenage girls, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The harm is in the form of increased mental distress, bullying, suicide and self-harm, according to a press release issued by Raoul’s office.
“Facebook is well aware that using its platforms have significantly harmed children and teens, leading them to develop eating disorders, exposing them to increased bullying, or resulting in them harming themselves – or even taking their own lives,” Raoul said.
“Facebook should put the health and safety of children before profits. As a state attorney general, I have been committed to protecting children online and teaching them about healthy online interactions. I am calling on Congress to take federal action by demanding more transparency from Facebook and holding the company accountable for damage that has been knowingly inflicted on young people,” he added.
Raoul and the other attorneys general believe the current and future well-being of youth in the country is at risk.
They expressed storng support of Tuesday’s hearings conducted by the U.S. Senate.
In the letter, Raoul said that the hearings reveal critical information about practices social media companies like Facebook are using to attract younger users.
In a letter written in May, Raoul and 44 other attorney generals urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg to abandon plans of a new version of Instagram specifically for people under the age of 13.
That request was ignored until last week when Facebook announced its intent to put the project on hold.
Rauol and the other attorney generals believe the project should be abandoned completely.
“More engagement by the user equals more data to leverage for advertising, which equals greater profit. This prompts social media companies to design their algorithms and other features to psychologically manipulate young users into a state of addiction to their cell phone screens,” Raoul and the others wrote.