16 May, 2024 @ 18:00
1 min read

Facebook owner Meta is being investigated by the EU over child safety concerns

Facebook owner Meta is being investigated by the EU over child safety concerns

THE European Union will probe social media giant Meta for alleged breaches of its online content law as it applies to children.

The European Commission said in a statement that it is investigating whether the Facebook and Instagram platforms ‘stimulate behavioural addictions in children’.

The commission added it is concerned about age verifications on Meta’s sites, as well as privacy risks linked to the company’s recommendation algorithms.

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The decision to launch probe comes after a preliminary analysis of risk assessment report supplied by Meta last September.

Thierry Breton, the EU’s commissioner for internal market, said that it is ‘not convinced that Meta has done enough to comply with rules to mitigate the risks of negative effects to the physical and mental health of young Europeans on its platforms’.

He added that it was a ‘matter of priority’ to carry out an investigation into Meta’s child protection measures.

A Meta spokesperson told broadcaster CNBC: “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.”

“This is a challenge the whole industry is facing, and we look forward to sharing details of our work with the European Commission.”

The Commission has the power to impose interim measures on Meta and will also study changes made by the company to remedy its concerns.

Meta and other tech firms have been increasingly finding themselves in the spotlight of EU scrutiny since the introduction of the Digital Services Act which seeks to combat harmful content.

Under the law, companies can be fined up to 6% of their global annual revenues for violations, but no fines have been issued so far.

Last December, it opened infringement proceedings into X, the company previously known as Twitter, over a suspected failure to combat content disinformation and manipulation.

Alex Trelinski

Alex worked for 30 years for the BBC as a presenter, producer and manager. He covered a variety of areas specialising in sport, news and politics. After moving to the Costa Blanca over a decade ago, he edited a newspaper for 5 years and worked on local radio.

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