Mariia Shalabaieva 

 Dozens of US states accused Facebook and Instagram owner Meta on Tuesday of profiteering "from children's pain," causing mental health problems, and misrepresenting people about the safety of its platforms. In order to maximise its financial benefits, Meta has continually deceived the public about the significant hazards of its Social Media Platforms, according to a joint complaint filed in federal court in California.

More than 40 states are suing Meta, though some have chosen to suit in state courts rather than join the federal action. According to the lawsuit petition, Meta has exploited teenage users by developing a revenue strategy that maximises the time they spend on the site despite detriment to their health. 

"Kids and teenagers are suffering from record levels of poor mental health and social media companies like Meta are to blame," said New York Attorney General Letitia James in a statement announcing the suit. READ ALSO Did a computer write this? Book industry grapples with AI "Meta has profited from children's pain by intentionally designing its platforms with manipulative features that make children addicted to their platforms while lowering their self-esteem." 

Meta is accused in the claim of misleading and illegal behaviour that harmed vulnerable adolescents for financial benefit. According to James, the petition asks the federal court to force Meta to stop using deceptive techniques and to pay heavy financial penalties as well as reparations.

"Social media companies, including Meta, have contributed to a national youth mental health crisis and they must be held accountable," James said. Industry issue? Meta said it was "disappointed" by the suit and that the states were not working with the array of social media companies to create age-appropriate standards. Meta maintained that it has developed more than 30 tools in its apps to support teenage users, and made it easier for parents to "shape" online activity.