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Delaware joins 33 states in suing Meta for business malpractice

Delaware joins a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general suing tech conglomerate Meta, formerly known as Facebook.

Delaware, along with 33 other states, allege Meta knowingly designed and implemented harmful features that purposefully addict children and teens on its social media platforms, like Instagram and Facebook.

The attorneys general believe Meta’s business practices violate state consumer protection laws and the federal Children’s Online Protection Act.

At the time, Meta assured the public these features are safe and suitable for young users, But Delaware’s Attorney General Kathy Jennings believes its methods are deliberate.

“They did it on purpose. They kept hidden their confidential research on those known and obvious harms that children were suffering. And they did it all for one reason – to make a whole bunch of money," Jennings said.

Jennings says with such a large lawsuit, there’s no set timeline, but adds she’s “in it for the long haul” and plans to “be aggressive in this litigation."

Much of the complaint relies on confidential material not yet publicly available, but information released by former Meta employees details the company profited by purposefully making its platforms addictive to children and teens.

“Meta has used the addictive qualities of their algorithms to make sure that children are spending inordinate amounts of time on these social media platforms. It’s not helping them, it’s hurting them, in Delaware and across the country," Jennings said.

The complaint seeks injunctive and monetary relief to rectify the alleged harm caused by Meta, in addition to a court order banning the company from continuing the alleged unlawful and dangerous practices.

Jennings is also asking the court for monetary restitution for young Delawareans who use Meta’s platforms, as well as civil penalties.

Before residing in Dover, Delaware, Sarah Petrowich moved around the country with her family, spending eight years in Fairbanks, Alaska, 10 years in Carbondale, Illinois and four years in Indianapolis, Indiana. She graduated from the University of Missouri in 2023 with a dual degree in Journalism and Political Science.