A lawsuit put toward Meta, formerly Facebook, has seen a family sue the company over their pre-teen daughter's eating disorder.
The family believe Meta is to blame for the "addictive" personality of their teenage daughter, and their lawsuit against the billion dollar company has cited a series of leaked Facebook papers.
Lawyers representing Alexis Spence claimed that her "addictive" use of Instagram had caused her to suffer from an eating disorder as well as suffering from self-harm and thoughts of suicide over several years.
The lawsuit was filed by the family in California, America, with the US District Court and brings up buried Facebook papers as evidence.
The case against Meta provided internal company documents that were leaked last year by an anonymous whistleblower, who disclosed thousands of internal files.
Reportedly within the documents were files that related to Instagram research, which shows that the popular app had a significant mental health impact on teenage girls.
The so-called Facebook Papers were used in evidence presented to the court, with the United States Securities Exchange Commission and Congress alleging last year that Instagram targeted tweens – generally seen as preadolescent children – and called them "herd animals".
They also alleged at the time that Facebook was utilising Instagram as a target for teenagers who wanted "to find communities where they can fit in."
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A case was filed by Social Media Victims Law Center, a Seattle-based group that advocates for the families of teenagers harmed online.
The lawsuit states that Alexis, now 19, first set up an account when she was 11, despite the social media platform's age of use requiring users to be 13 at minimum.
The once "confident and happy" teenager is said to have been hospitalised with depression, anxiety and anorexia and is in recovery because of harmful content consistently promoted to her on the app, the Independent reported.
Founder of the Social Media Victims Law Center, Matthew P Bergman, who represents the family, said: "You look at the extensive research that it [Meta] performed, they knew exactly what they were doing to kids, and they kept doing it."
Meta has been contacted for comment.
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