LONDON (NEWSnet/AP) — European Union opened an investigation Thursday into Facebook and Instagram over suspicion the platforms are failing to protect children online.

It's the latest round of scrutiny for parent company Meta under EU's Digital Services Act, a set of regulations that took effect in 2023 with the goal of cleansing online platforms and protecting internet users.

European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, said it's concerned that algorithmic systems used by Facebook and Instagram to recommend content could “exploit the weaknesses and inexperience” of children and stimulate “addictive behavior."

The commission also is examining Meta's use of age verification tools to prevent children from accessing Facebook or Instagram, or being able to view inappropriate content. The platforms require users to be at least age 13 years to create an account.

Meta said it wants young people to have safe, age-appropriate experiences online and have spent a decade developing more than 50 tools and policies designed to protect them ... we look forward to sharing details of our work with the European Commission.”

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