IDNIANAPOLIS (WANE) – On Monday, Attorney General Todd Rokita joined a bipartisan coalition of 52 attorneys general to express strong support for Congressional hearings addressing protection and safety for kids and teens using social media.
Concerns from attorneys generals have grown with the recent research from Facebook’s own internal studies that show social media is inflicting harm on a significant number of kids, the Attorney General’s office said. The harm includes, increased mental distress, bullying, suicide and other self-harm.
“A top priority of mine is to protect Hoosiers from harm, this includes mental distress,” said Attorney General Rokita. “All of us need to work together to put a stop to Facebook using algorithms which exploit younger audiences, leading to increased suicidal ideation, self-harm, and bullying. I am not alone in believing the well-being of our youth is at stake. This issue impacts our children and future generational leaders.”
In a letter, which will be entered into the Congressional record, the attorneys general recognize the hearings will uncover critical information about the business practices that social media companies are using to gain the attention of more young people on their platforms. Last week before the Congressional hearings, Facebook announced it intends to “pause” the project, but the attorneys general believe the project should be abandoned altogether.
“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,” the attorneys general write in the letter.
In April, Attorney General Todd Rokita announced he was investigating whether Facebook, along with four other Big Tech companies, has potentially harmed Indiana consumers through business practices that are abusive, deceptive and/or unfair.