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Instagram and Facebook under EU investigation for causing child addiction and harm

Image of Meta’s logo with a red and blue background.
The EU is concerned that Meta’s algorithms may cause “behavioral addictions in children.” | Illustration by Nick Barclay / The Verge

The European Union has opened a formal investigation into Meta over concerns that it isn’t doing enough to safeguard the mental and physical health of children who use its Facebook and Instagram social media platforms.

The probe announced by the European Commission on Thursday will assess whether Meta has breached rules under the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA), noting that Facebook and Instagram’s UI and algorithms may cause “behavioral addictions in children” and create “rabbit-hole effects.” The EU is also concerned that Meta isn’t doing enough to prevent minors from accessing inappropriate content, and that its age-verification tools may not be “reasonable, proportionate, and effective.”

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