Court documents state that between April and October 2021, Facebook’s management violated federal securities law by deliberately misleading the public about its algorithms and the negative effects its products may have on minors to boost profits.
“Facebook (Meta) said it was looking out for our children and weeding out online trolls, but in reality was creating misery and divisiveness for profit,” Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement on Monday.
According to Yost, “the truth began to emerge” after the publication of ‘The Facebook Files’ earlier this year. The publication, based on internal documents unveiled by a former employee, claimed that the company’s social networks’ algorithms promoted potentially dangerous content – for instance, girls with anorexia were recommended to subscribe to groups where weight loss was discussed. The documents claimed that hate speech, and radical and even extremist content was promoted or not filtered out due to flaws in the platform’s system, which the company allegedly knew about but ignored. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg claimed at the time that the accusations were libelous and that the company has never prioritized profits over users.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Meta’s investors and Ohio Public Employees Retirement System. The plaintiffs, jointly demanding $100 billion in damages from Meta, also urge the company’s management take measures to fix the flaws and not mislead its investors again.
In response to the court filing, Meta spokesperson Joe Osborne said the “suit is without merit and we will defend ourselves vigorously.”
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