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Sean D. Reyes
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Judge Denies Meta’s Motion for Dismissal

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH — In a major victory for Attorney General Sean D. Reyes, a Utah district court judge ruled against Meta Platforms, Inc.’s legal maneuver to dismiss a lawsuit against the social media giant.

The ruling from Third District Court Judge Kent Holmberg came after a hearing between the two sides this week in a case filed by the Utah Division of Consumer Protection, acting through the Utah Attorney General’s Office.

Utah had alleged that Meta Platforms, Inc. violated the state’s Consumer Sales Practices Act by designing platforms to trap children in excessive, harmful use that causes severe mental health issues, and that Meta also deceived parents and young users about the safety of using Instagram and Facebook.

“Judge Holmberg’s ruling is a critical step in our work nationally to hold Meta accountable for all harm to Facebook and Instagram users – especially our Utah teens and children,” said Attorney General Sean D. Reyes.

“The court correctly decided it has jurisdiction in this case and neither Section 230 nor Utah’s Consumer Protection Act shield Meta from responsibility for addictive algorithms and unconscionable tactics that entrap innocent users and violate the law. We look forward to moving our case forward and are confident discovery will provide even more evidence in our favor.”

The filing in October 2023 alleged two separate counts:

  1. Meta has, for years, carefully crafted a highly sophisticated platform to ensure that it effectively captured young children in harmful cycles of excessive use through deceptive and addictive features, constituting an unconscionable business practice under state law.
  2. While attempting to maintain a public image as a stalwart of child well-being, Meta deceived parents and consumers about the risks of the platform and its attempts to ensnare our children’s attention and experience.

The State of Utah had asked the court to enjoin Meta Platforms, Inc. from violating the Utah Consumer Sales Protection Act and to pay restitution and damages and civil penalties.

Read the October 2023 post and filing here.