Everything you need to know about our campaign to make Instagram safer.
Children today face unprecedented exposure to online content through social media platforms.
More children, and younger children, now have access to the internet, including on their own mobile devices, than ever before. Whilst Meta claims to ‘care deeply about issues like safety, well-being and mental health’, there is growing concern over the online harm caused to children and young people by online platforms. Recent revelations from leaked documents in the US suggest that Meta is aware of the harms caused but is failing to act.
Good Law Project is specifically concerned about the harm caused to young people who are exposed to content that causes them to develop negative self image, that have led to the development of eating disorders, self harm and suicidal ideation. This content is served to them via recommender algorithms from online platforms, and specifically Instagram (Meta).
Focusing on Instagram
‘Recommender algorithms’ store data about instagram users’ activities online to show them increasingly ‘relevant’ content: ‘if you like this… you’ll love this’. This is ‘data processing’ under GDPR and is a form of automated decision-making. The algorithm profiles users according to their likes and dislikes, and makes recommendations based on those profiles. When children ‘like’ harmful content, the algorithm offers them more of the same.
Recent leaks have revealed that Instagram is aware of the harm that their recommender algorithms are causing children and young people. This means it is not being transparent about the ways in which it processes personal data, for which users cannot possibly be giving their informed consent. We don’t think this is ok.
What are we aiming to achieve?
We are currently exploring legal options, and will update supporters when we have more information, in the meantime we are looking to build a movement of people interested in helping us tackle this issue, take part in this campaign and when the time comes follow and support our legal action
Who are we at Good Law Project?
Good Law Project is a not for profit that uses the law for a better world. Over the past few years, we have led a number of successful legal challenges to protect the interests of the public. We had a primary role in overturning the prorogation of Parliament in 2019. Earlier this year, we successfully challenged the Government’s operation of a fast track ‘VIP lane’ for awarding lucrative PPE contracts to those with political connections, and our campaigning played a key role in the Met Police opening an investigation into Boris Johnson over the Partygate scandal.