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Keith Ellison joins other attorneys general in investigation into Instagram, other Meta platforms

The investigation will focus on how Meta Platforms, formerly Facebook, promoted its products to young people.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison will join an investigation into Meta Platforms – the newly-named parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp – and its effect on children and teens.

Ellison’s office announced Thursday that he would join a bipartisan group of other attorneys general from across the county in the investigation.

The investigation will look into how Meta promoted its products, particularly Instagram, to children and teens despite knowing the risks to physical and mental health.

“While I cannot provide detail about an active investigation, we are seeking information on how Meta grew and increased the engagement of young users on Instagram and whether Meta violated Minnesota’s consumer-protection laws by providing and promoting a product to children that Meta appears to know cause them harm,” Ellison said in a statement.

The investigation comes after whistleblower Frances Haugen leaked documents demonstrating Meta was aware of the dangers of its products to young people, according to Politico.

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Ellison was also part of a group of 44 attorney generals to urge Meta to scrap plans for a version of Instagram targeted at children under 13 last spring.

The development of such a product has since been halted. 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced last month that he was changing the name of the parent company from Facebook to Meta, though Facebook still exists 

In a statement to CNN, a Meta spokesman said the allegations by the attorneys general are false and "demonstrate a deep misunderstanding of the facts."

"While challenges in protecting young people online impact the entire industry, we've led the industry in combating bullying and supporting people struggling with suicidal thoughts, self-injury, and eating disorders," the statement said. "We continue to develop parental supervision controls and are exploring ways to provide even more age-appropriate experiences for teens by default."

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