EU probes Facebook, Instagram over fears of addictive behaviour in children

The EU on Thursday opened a formal investigation into Facebook and Instagram on suspicion the platforms owned by Meta are causing addictive behaviour in children.

The probe is under a mammoth law known as the Digital Services Act (DSA) that forces the world's largest tech firms to do more to protect European users online and clamp down on illegal content.

It is the second investigation into Meta. An earlier one was launched by the European Union last month over fears Facebook and Instagram are failing to counter disinformation.

"We are not convinced that it has done enough to comply with the DSA obligations to mitigate the risks of negative effects to the physical and mental health of young Europeans," the EU's internal market commissioner, Thierry Breton, said.

"We are sparing no effort to protect our children," he added.

A Meta spokesperson defended the company's efforts to protect young users.

"We want young people to have safe, age-appropriate experiences online and have spent a decade developing more than 50 tools and policies designed to protect them," the spokesperson said.

Another issue the commission raised is the so-called "rabbit hole" effect -- which occurs when users are fed related content based on an algorithm, in some cases leading to more extreme content.


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