Tennessee AG Takes Bold Steps Against Meta for Child Safety

AG Skrmetti confronts Meta over child exploitation and account security.

In a determined push to enhance child safety online, Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has spearheaded actions against social media giant Meta Platforms, Inc., during National Consumer Protection Week. Highlighting his commitment to safeguarding Tennessee’s children and consumers, AG Skrmetti has positioned himself at the forefront of the legal battle against irresponsible digital practices.

On March 4, AG Skrmetti, alongside a coalition of 27 state attorneys general, took a decisive step by sending a letter to Meta, the parent company of Instagram, demanding an immediate cessation of the monetization of child exploitation content. This move came in response to distressing media reports that unveiled how Instagram’s “parent-managed minor accounts” were being exploited for profit, with images of children in “pin-up style” being sold to subscribers displaying a clear sexual interest in minors. Furthermore, it was revealed that Meta had been promoting subscriptions to child-modeling content among users with a predilection for child exploitation, a revelation that has shocked the public and officials alike.

The following day, March 5, saw AG Skrmetti joining forces with a bipartisan group of 41 attorneys general in addressing another grave concern: the surge in account takeovers on Facebook and Instagram. These account takeovers involve unauthorized access and control over a user’s account by scammers, resulting in the original user being locked out. The coalition urged Meta to conduct a comprehensive review of its data security measures to prevent such breaches and protect users from being victimized by these fraudulent activities.

These concerted efforts follow a lawsuit filed by AG Skrmetti in October 2023, accusing Meta of causing mental health harm to young users through its Instagram platform. This legal action underscores a growing concern over the impact of social media on the mental well-being of children and teenagers.

AG Skrmetti’s actions during National Consumer Protection Week signify a robust stance against big tech companies that fail to protect the most vulnerable. By holding Meta accountable, Tennessee is leading the charge in ensuring a safer digital environment for children and consumers alike. Residents who have experienced the negative effects of social media on children are encouraged to share their stories with the Tennessee Attorney General’s Division of Consumer Affairs, as part of a broader initiative to address and mitigate these concerns.

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