The European Commission is investigating whether Meta adequately protects minors

The European Commission has opened an investigation into Meta. It looks at whether Facebook and Instagram are too addictive or not.

The European Commission announces that it has opened an investigation into Meta. According to the Commission, the company is not doing enough to protect the mental well-being of children and young people.

In concrete terms, the European Commission wants to investigate whether Facebook is violating the rules of the Digital Services Act (DSA), European Commissioner Thierry Breton announced on X. The body points to the algorithm that Facebook and Instagram use to propose content to users. That algorithm could cause addictive behavior in children by creating a “rabbit hole effect”.

Meta does not allow children under the age of 13 on its platforms, but according to the Commission it does not sufficiently monitor this. Young children therefore find their way too easily to the platforms, where there is a good chance that they will see inappropriate content.

Company tinkered has already been working on safety for the youngest users in recent months. For example, young Instagram users cannot chat with adult accounts that show “suspicious” activity. In addition, Meta has been hiding content with sensitive content for a while. Young people who enter search terms related to eating disorders, suicide and self-harm will no longer see content. Instead, they are referred to resources. Young people will no longer see the content if it is shared by acquaintances.

The European Union’s investigation will have to show whether that effort has been sufficient. If this is not the case, it could cost the parent company behind Facebook and Instagram dearly. The legislation provides the possibility to issue fines of up to 6% of the annual company turnover. It is currently unknown when the Commission’s investigation will be completed, although the Commission can impose measures on the social media platform in the meantime.

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