On October 24, 2023, 41 U.S. states and the District of Columbia sued Meta, alleging their social media platforms, namely Facebook and Instagram, knowingly contributed to the youth mental health crisis. In the lawsuit, they claim Facebook and Instagram are not only addictive and harmful to young users through numerous features like copious alerts, notifications, and infinitely scrolling feeds. They also claim these features “negatively impact teens’ mental health”, specifically because they encourage social comparisons and promote body dysmorphia through likes or photo filters.
What This Means for Marketers
Ultimately, regardless of where this lawsuit goes, other social media platforms may feel inclined to add more features and/or privacy settings designed to restrict usage on younger users. With the reality of social media platforms likely enforcing more regulation through features and default privacy settings over younger users, social media ads and posts may not reach much of their younger audience. Therefore, marketers should:
- Market on other social media platforms specifically designed for younger people. Ex: Snapchat, YouTube Kids, TikTok, etc.
- Focus on creating engaging content - for organic social media content, engaging content performs best with younger users, so use that to your advantage. The more young people interact with your engaging organic content, the more it'll show for similar users, like others in their age group.
- Partner with influencers - young people are more likely to trust recommendations from their favorite influencers and engage with their content. This can also include popular celebrities among your target demographic.
- Determine where else your audience is online - social media may take up a lot of young people's time, but it isn't the only place they're spending their energy online. Find out what other websites they're browsing and advertise there instead.
- Target an older audience instead - even if you usually target a younger audience, it's possible you're missing out on revenue you could be earning from older potential customers.
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