Suggesting that overexposure to social media platforms can result in depression, body image issues, cyberbullying and other serious issues among kids, New Jersey is co-leading a multi-state investigation into whether Instagram is violating state consumer protection laws and putting young users at risk.

The investigation will center on techniques used by Instagram's parent company Meta Platforms, Inc. (formerly known as Facebook) to increase the frequency and duration of engagement by young users, Acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck announced on Thursday.

"Parents are anxious about the effects of social media on their children's well-being, and understandably so," Bruck said. "We must ensure that social media platforms are not violating our laws or exposing our youth to mental and physical harms."

Bruck's office cited recent reports revealing that Meta knew that using Instagram is associated with increased risks of harms on young people, including suicide.

"And if we learn that companies like Meta knew that their products were harmful and tried to get kids hooked on them anyway, or otherwise violated our laws, we will take strong and aggressive action," Bruck said.

New Jersey and several other states in May urged then-Facebook to scrap plans for an under-age-13 version of Instagram. Instagram announced in late September that it's pausing work on building "Instagram Kids."

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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