In In Re: Social Media Adolescent Addiction/Personal Injury Products Liability Litigation, company documents revealed that Facebook parent company Meta Platforms had received over 1.1 million reports of users under the age of 13 on its platform since early 2019, according to a legal complaint by 33 state Attorneys General. However, the complaint alleges that Meta “disabled only a fraction” of those accounts, instead continuing to collect children’s personal information without parental permission and therefore violating federal children’s privacy laws.
The privacy charges are part of a larger lawsuit filed in October by 33 states accusing Meta of unfairly targeting young users on Instagram and Facebook while concealing internal studies on user harm. The newly unsealed complaint provides new details, citing internal emails, chats, and company presentations, claiming that Meta actively pursued underage users and failed to implement effective age-verification systems.
The complaint also accuses Meta executives of publicly stating that the age-verification process was effective and that underage accounts were removed, despite knowing about millions of underage users on Instagram.
The privacy charges focus on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which requires online services aimed at children to obtain parental permission before collecting personal information from users under 13, with fines for violations. The complaint alleges that Meta prioritized capturing young users as a crucial demographic, ignoring indicators of underage users.
Seeger Weiss is co-leading lawsuits brought by hundreds of families who have filed product liability lawsuits alleging social media companies failed to provide protections to minor-aged users and designed their platforms to promote harmful behavior.