“I am the most well-known person of my generation," replied Mark Zuckerberg to an email from four billionaire META investors who called him “*the spokesman* for the Millennial Generation…at least in the USA."
On October 23, 2023, Tennessee’s AG held a press conference announcing the state’s lawsuit against Meta. The suit, pursued by 42 attorneys general, alleged the social media giant misrepresented their platforms’ addictive nature. At the time, documents from the bipartisan, nationwide investigation were released with heavy redactions. Yesterday, Skmetti’s office was finally able to release the fully un-redacted version of the suit.
META METRICS: TENNESSEE
Midway through the complaint, there’s a full section dedicated to Meta’s focus on Tennessee—especially their keen interest in the Nashville area. The suit mentions a Tennessean guest column by Meta COO Sheryl Sandberg, published in 2020. Titled “Nashville Area is a Special Place and Facebook Wants to Be a Part of It,” the piece took note of “the various ways Nashvillians used Meta's products in the wake of the March 2020 tornadoes, during the Covid-19 pandemic, and in relation to various philanthropic causes,” which include “two solar energy projects in Lincoln and Madison counties,” and “Meta's efforts to support small and black-owned businesses in Tennessee during the pandemic,” to name a few.
Further along, the suit mentions a discussion the Tennessean's editorial board had with Meta a month after Sandberg’s column was printed: “Internal documents show that the company viewed this as ‘an opportunity to proactively reach out and build relationships with the outlet and Board and provide a positive, forward looking message relating to the impact of [Meta)...particularly in Tennessee.’"
The un-redacted suit then goes on to unveil Meta’s internal data showing how closely they’re monitoring Instagram's performance among youths in the Volunteer state. Among the metrics were things like teen consumption of Instagram features and teen market “penetration” in Tennessee.
Perhaps most strikingly, Meta's internal metrics show that as of 2020, Meta determined that Instagram had fully ‘saturated’ the market for Tennesseans under 35 years of age. That same year, Meta found that it had fully "penetrated" the teenage market in Tennessee.Presumably, these metrics mean that Meta believed that, as of 2020, there were as many Instagram accounts for teenagers in Tennessee as there were teenagers in the State.
META’S SIX MOST ALARMING PRACTICES
Yesterday, Skrmetti’s office highlighted Meta’s most concerning practices, all of which are mentioned in the suit and address Meta’s dismissal of various internal studies showing the detrimental effects of their platforms on teen brain development.