Meta’s Instagram accused of contributing towards teen eating disorders

Meta’s Instagram has been accused by two families in the US of playing a role in fuelling their teenage daughters’ eating disorders.

The families have filed two lawsuits, both in San Francisco courts, alleging that Meta operates its photo-sharing platform in a harmful way despite knowing the dangers that it poses to teens and children.

One of the lawsuits has alleged that Meta created a “‘perfect storm’ of addiction, social comparison, and exposure to incredibly harmful content and product features” and resulted in teenage user Alex suffering “several emotional, physical, and financial harms as a result…”

The suit was filed on behalf of a family in Kentucky.

Another suit has claimed that Meta’s “unreasonably dangerous Instagram product” caused long-term mental and physical harm to one teenage girl, which will “forever impact” her life.

Both the suits allege that the teenage users joined Instagram at 12 years old, despite the company’s policy requiring users to be 13 or older.

The news follows a whistleblower allegation last year from a former Meta employee who claimed that the company knew Instagram could make eating disorders and suicidal thoughts worse in teenagers.

Instagram has previously stated that it does not allow the publishing of images glorifying eating disorders, however psychologists have voiced concerns on the platform’s harmful effects in the past few years.

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