News Releases

Attorney General Rutledge Urges Congress to Address Youth Social Media Use

Says, ‘these websites falsely feed our young people with lies that their self-worth is based on likes and views’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge joined a bipartisan coalition of 52 attorneys general expressing strong support for the hearings being conducted by the U.S. Senate Committee and urges action to protect the safety of kids and teens using social media. General Rutledge has been watchful and concerned over the impacts of social media on youth. Those concerns have grown with recent research from Facebook’s own internal studies showing that social media is inflicting harm—in the form of increased mental distress, bullying, suicide, and other self-harm—on a significant number of kids.

“We have seen these websites falsely feed our young people with lies that their self-worth is based on likes and views,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “As a mother of a young daughter, I believe we must find solutions for negative internet usage immediately.”

The letter recognizes the hearings will uncover critical information about the business practices that social media companies are using to gain the attention of more young people on their platforms. The coalition believes the current and future well-being of our nation’s youth is at stake. 

In May 2021, a bipartisan coalition of 44 attorneys general wrote a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg urging the company to abandon plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13. That request was ignored. Last week, in advance of the Congressional hearings, Facebook announced intent to “pause” the project. The coalition is urging Facebook to altogether abandon the project.

The joint letter specifically states, “More engagement by the user equals more data to leverage for advertising, which equals greater profit. This prompts social media companies to design their algorithms and other features to psychologically manipulate young users into a state of addiction to their cell phone screens.”