Dozens of US states have accused social media company Meta of illegally collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 on Instagram. Last month it was announced that the parent company of Facebook and Instagram would be suing the sites for the alleged psychological harm they caused to young people.
The New York Times now reports that it suspects privacy violations based on a new document.
Officially, children under the age of 13 are not allowed on Instagram. But according to 33 US states, “Meta’s knowledge of millions of Instagram users under the age of 13 is an open secret within the company, information about which is routinely monitored, analyzed and confirmed,” writes the US newspaper. This column was painted black in the previous version from October.
Instagram continues to slow down
According to the prosecutors, Instagram routinely fails to verify the age of people creating accounts so that people under 13 can still use the site. Internal emails and even chat messages show that Instagram is actively targeting these young users, while it’s clear that the company is not complying with privacy rules for children. According to the complaint, Instagram ignored warnings that certain users were too young.
Meta has already had to pay several privacy fines. In September last year, the Irish privacy regulator fined Instagram 405 million euros for being careless with children’s personal data.
In 2019, Facebook reached a $5 billion settlement with the US market watchdog FTC over several privacy scandals. The company has reportedly ignored users’ privacy preferences since 2012. It also came to light that campaign firm Cambridge Analytica accessed millions of users’ data without permission. That information was used for Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.
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