Ohio attorney general files lawsuit claiming Facebook misled investors about safety measures

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  • Meta, formerly known as Facebook, faces new charges for allegedly violating federal securities laws by investors.
  • Ohio’s attorney general filed a lawsuit alleging that Facebook misled the public about the negative effects of the company’s products on the well-being of children.
  • The lawsuit follows the release of a trove of documents by former Facebook employee Frances Haugen.

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Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is facing new charges from investors who allegedly violated federal securities laws by making false statements about the harm to its products.

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Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s lawsuit alleges that Facebook misled the public about the negative effects its apps can have on children’s well-being. Yost filed the case as a federal class action suit on behalf of the Ohio Public Pension Fund and other Facebook investors.

The case follows revelations from former Facebook employee Frances Haugen, who handed over a collection of internally researched documents to journalists, Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission. document Has shown Facebook conducted research assessing the mental health impact of its Instagram app on teens and found that the photo-sharing service worsened body problems for one in three teenage girls.

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Facebook responded by pointing to the positive impact of its services on users, claiming that some of the results of the study on mental health were misinterpreted. But many lawmakers and parents said Facebook should have done more to minimize the damage and improve the user experience.

A spokesperson for Meta called the suit “without merit” in a statement and added, “We will vigorously defend ourselves.”

The lawsuit alleges that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other company executives intentionally made false statements about the safety and security of their services. It says the declining value of Facebook’s stock caused the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) and other investors to lose more than $100 billion since the documents were first released.

Yost is seeking to recover lost value and requires Facebook to change its practices to ensure that it does not mislead the public in the future.

The complaint states that Facebook made false statements to the public and on its website to support its claims. For example, it points to Zuckerberg’s comments on the company’s first-quarter earnings call, where he reportedly “downplayed” concerns about how Facebook’s algorithm could enhance more controversial content. Zuckerberg said on the call that the company’s practices were “fairly strong” and that “we go out of our way to try to reduce extremist content”.

Yost has been involved in previous actions against Facebook, including a multi-state antitrust lawsuit. Although a judge dismissed the states’ complaint earlier this year, the plaintiffs have indicated they plan to appeal the decision. The Federal Trade Commission is running a similar case against the company.

Yost also joined 43 other attorneys general in calling on Facebook to halt plans to introduce a version of Instagram for children. The company eventually said it would put its plans on hold.

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WATCH: Facebook ‘addictive’ and especially destructive to children, senators say: Businesshala After Hours


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