A Kentucky mother is suing Meta after her daughter developed anorexia from using the social media platform Instagram.
Candace Wuest, her daughter, and Social Media Victims Law Center lawyer Matthew Bergman joined “Fox & Friends First” Friday to discuss the lawsuit against Meta and warn parents on how Instagram algorithms can hurt young girls’ self-esteem and in some cases, lead to physical harm.
“It just it really took a toll on my life. It took a toll on not only my childhood years, but the time that I will never get back,” the teen said about Instagram.
Last year, Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen sparked global attention and confirmed parents’ fears regarding social media when she leaked information about the tech giant.
“The choices being made inside of Facebook are disastrous for our children, for our public safety, for our privacy, and for our democracy,” Haugen said in her opening statement before lawmakers in October 2021. “I saw Facebook repeatedly encounter conflicts between its own profits and our safety. Facebook consistently resolved these conflicts in favor of its own profits.”
Wuest described how she noticed Instagram taking a toll on her daughter’s mental and physical wellbeing.
“Cognitive skills were gone, her ability to concentrate, as well as having issues with depression, anxiety that she’s never had before, and she started to flunk out in school. And of course, I noticed that she was trying to hide the fact she had lost so much weight. But it just became obvious as she started to have dizzy spells and passing out,” she explained, calling on parents to “wake up.”
Furthermore, the mom said the Instagram algorithms targeted her then 12-year-old daughter with harmful posts that glorified anorexia and other forms of self-harm. She went from using the app to share recipes with her mom, to posts showing exercise and weight loss and eventually more harmful posts which she described as “anorexia pornography.”
The teenager, who chose not to reveal her name, said she would tell parents of young girls to remind their daughters that what they see on Instagram does not reflect reality and social media only tells girls that they will “never be good enough.”
“It’s not real. It’s not reality,” she said, adding she is thankful she survived.
Bergman told host Todd Piro the lawsuit argues the “design of the product is inherently dangerous, that addicting children to your product for purposes of maintaining user engagement is illegal and improper and damaging.”
He added, “It is killing our kids. The only thing that’s unique about this case is that through the love of her mother and the grace of God that she is here to talk to you today.”
Fox News’ Madeline Coggins contributed to this report.