A family has sued Meta, blaming 'addictive' Instagram for daughter's eating disorder and self-harm
- A family has sued
Meta, blaming its eating disorder.
- Lawyers for Alexis Spence, now 19, said the use of Instagram caused her to suffer suicidal thoughts.
A family has sued Meta, blaming the company's "addictive" Instagram platform for their pre-teen daughter's eating disorder, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts, in a
Filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California on Monday, lawyers for Alexis Spence claim that she was a "confident and happy child," but has since been hospitalized for depression, anxiety and anorexia because of the "harmful content and features" which Instagram promoted to her to increase engagement.
Now 19, Spence set up her first Instagram account aged 11, even though the platform's minimum age requirement is 13, the lawsuit stated.
"Meta knew that she was under the age of 13. Meta also designed its product to encourage such illegal and unauthorized use, and in a manner that encouraged Alexis to open multiple accounts," it said.
The lawsuit was filed by the
"Meta programmed and operated its product to prioritize engagement over user safety, and Alexis suffered several emotional, physical, and financial harms as a result, as did her parents," the lawsuit stated.
"The more Alexis accessed and used the Instagram social media product, the worse her mental and physical health became, which eventually included a life-threatening eating disorder and suicidal ideation," it continued.
The lawsuit draws from the Facebook Papers, Meta's internal documents which found that Instagram worsens eating disorders and thoughts of suicide in teenage girls. The research was leaked late last year by whistleblower Frances Haugen, who formerly worked at Facebook as a product manager.
"If you look at the extensive research that it [Meta] performed, they knew exactly what they were doing to kids, and they kept doing it," Matthew P. Bergman, the Social Media Victims Law Center's founder, told NBC News. Bergman is also representing Spence and her family.
Insider has reached out to Bergman and Meta for comment.
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