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New Hampshire attorney general releases unredacted portions of Meta lawsuit

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(The Center Square) – New Hampshire has released unredacted portions from the complaint against social media giant Meta and Instagram following an October lawsuit filed in state and federal courts across the country.

The litigation accuses Meta of designing and deploying harmful material that “addict children and teens to their mental and physical detriment.”

New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said Friday the release is being made in part because of the high number of Granite State residents active on social media sites and ad revenue tied to the state.

The original complaint filed by a bipartisan group of attorneys general included “significant portions” of the complaint that were redacted. Formella said removing the redactions provides “additional context for the misconduct New Hampshire alleges against Meta based on the company’s own documents.”

“The people of New Hampshire can now see that Meta’s own documents acknowledge the harms its platforms inflict on kids,” Formella said. “Meta not only knows that its products exploit the vulnerabilities of children’s developing brains, it actively studies the most effective ways to ‘hack’ the brain chemistry of children for profit. We will continue to prosecute this matter to stop Meta’s unlawful conduct and protect New Hampshire’s kids.”

Formella highlighted specific portions of the unredacted complaint. The complaint says Meta “continues to implement design elements that promote the passive use of its platforms to increase profits” despite “knowing” it hurts users.

The complaint also points the finger at Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg for vetoing the company’s plan to ban photo filters “that simulate the effects of plastic surgery,” which was at odds with a “consensus” of Meta employees and outside subject matter experts who claim the filters are harmful to users, and according to Meta’s own words claimed the filters are “actively encouraging young girls into body dysmorphia.”

The suit also contends that Meta “touted misleading statistics” regarding the safety of its social media platforms, concealing internal statistics revealing a higher rate of harm.

In response, Meta maintains its commitment to providing a safe experience for its users, underscoring teen users.

“The attorneys general’s commitment to providing teens with safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families,” Meta said in a statement. “We’re disappointed that instead of working productively with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards for the many apps teens use, the attorneys general have chosen this path.”

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