The European Union Launches Major Investigation into Meta Over Child Safety Concerns

The European Union Launches Major Investigation into Meta Over Child Safety Concerns

The European Union has launched a major investigation into Meta, the parent company of Facebook, over alleged breaches of the bloc’s strict online content law related to child safety risks. The European Commission, the EU’s executive body, has expressed concerns that Meta’s Facebook and Instagram platforms may be stimulating behavioral addictions in children and creating what are known as ‘rabbit-hole effects.’ These effects refer to the practice of content platforms leading users to increasingly extreme or harmful material.

One of the key areas of concern for the European Commission is the age verification processes on Meta’s platforms, as well as the privacy risks associated with the company’s recommendation algorithms. The EU is particularly worried about protecting young people and ensuring that they have safe and age-appropriate experiences online. Meta has stated that they have developed over 50 tools and policies designed to protect young users, but the Commission remains skeptical.

The European Commission has initiated an in-depth investigation into Meta’s child protection measures as a matter of priority. The bloc plans to gather evidence through requests for information, interviews, and inspections. Additionally, the EU has the authority to take further enforcement steps, such as interim measures and non-compliance decisions. Meta could also propose commitments to address the EU’s concerns.

Meta is not alone in facing scrutiny from the European Union over compliance with the Digital Services Act. Other U.S. tech giants have also been under investigation since the introduction of the landmark legislation. The DSA allows for fines of up to 6% of a company’s global annual revenues for violations, although the EU has yet to impose fines on any tech giants under the new law. The Commission recently opened infringement proceedings into X, formerly Twitter, over suspected failures to combat disinformation and manipulation.

In addition to the EU’s investigation, Meta is also facing legal challenges in the United States over child safety concerns. The attorney general of New Mexico has filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging that Facebook and Instagram enabled child sexual abuse, solicitation, and trafficking. Meta has responded by stating that they use sophisticated technology and preventative measures to combat these issues.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook, is under intense scrutiny from the European Union and other authorities over alleged breaches of online content laws related to child safety risks. The EU’s investigation into Meta’s platforms and practices marks a significant step in holding tech companies accountable for the impact of their services on young users. It remains to be seen how Meta will respond to the allegations and what actions the European Commission will take to address the concerns raised.


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