EU will investigate Meta over child safety and mental health issues.


The European Commission will look into the owner of Facebook and Instagram amid worries that these platforms are encouraging addictive behaviour in minors and hurting their mental health.


The EU executive suggested that Meta may have breached the Digital Services Act (DSA), a major statute passed last summer that makes digital corporations responsible for concerns such as disinformation, shopping frauds, child exploitation, and other online damages.

This probe is part of a larger global push by governments to control services such as Instagram and TikTok to protect kids. Meta has long faced criticism for purportedly building its products and recommendation algorithms with minors in mind.

In October, three dozen US states sued Meta, accusing it of utilizing “psychologically manipulative product features” to entice youngsters, so violating consumer protection laws.

In a statement made on Thursday, the EU executive stated that the Commission is concerned that Facebook and Instagram’s systems, particularly their algorithms, may encourage behavioural addictions in minors and produce so-called ‘rabbit-hole effects’.

“In addition, the Commission is also concerned about age-assurance and verification methods put in place by Meta.” The regulator’s concerns are about youngsters accessing inappropriate content.

The Commission further stated that its decision to launch an investigation is based on a preliminary study of the risk assessment report supplied by Meta in September 2023.

The regulator is “not convinced [that Meta] has done enough to comply with the DSA obligations to mitigate the risks of negative effects on the physical and mental health of young Europeans on its platforms,” CNBC quoted Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for internal market, as saying.

Meta is already in the EU’s sights for election disinformation, a major issue ahead of the critical European Parliament elections next month. DSA infractions can result in fines of up to 6% of the company’s annual global turnover.

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