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The social media company filed a lawsuit against Meta and its subsidiary Instagram. The lawsuit, filed in Federal Court in California, cited the addictive effects of the platforms on the mental health of young people.

"Research shows that teens' and children's use of Meta's social media platforms is linked to depression, anxiety, insomnia, impact on education and daily life, and many other negative outcomes," the lawsuit states.

The 33 plaintiffs, including states such as California and Illinois, accuse Meta of repeatedly misleading the public about the dangers of its platforms and knowingly encouraging young people to use addictive social media.

"The company's motivation is profit," the filing argued, adding that Meta "utilizes effective and unprecedented technologies to seduce, attract, and ultimately ensnare teens and children."

"We are disappointed that they chose this path"
Meta, on the other hand, claims to be working to improve the safety of young people online.

"We are disappointed that the attorney general's office chose this path instead of collaborating with companies in the industry to create clear rules and age-appropriate standards for the apps that young people use," the company said in a statement.

Meta's share value fell 0.3 percent after the lawsuit was made public.

The lawsuit also alleged that Meta violated a law prohibiting the collection of information about children under the age of 13.

Among the complaints was that Meta continued policies deemed "harmful" by the states that filed the lawsuit in its apps such as Horizan World, WhatsApp and Messenger.

The attorneys general of New Hampshire and Washington DC also announced that they filed lawsuits against Meta in local courts with similar complaints. Seven more states are expected to file lawsuits against the social media company, bringing the total number of states filing lawsuits to 42.

In addition to Meta, which also owns Facebook, ByteDance's TikTok and Google's video sharing platform YouTube are also facing hundreds of lawsuits on behalf of teenagers and children.