business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Instacart announced yesterday a new partnership with Wellness West, which describes itself as a "coalition of Chicago’s health and safety-net institutions," designed to further the Instacart's footprint by making it available "to help food-insecurity and chronically ill individuals on the West Side of Chicago."

According to the announcement, "Wellness West will launch a new 'Food Connections' program, which will offer eligible Wellness West members a monthly grocery stipend of $79, delivered through Instacart Health Fresh Funds, that can be used to purchase nutritious foods like fresh and frozen produce for delivery via Instacart. The digital stipend can be combined with other food benefit programs, like SNAP or eligible supplemental health benefits, allowing members to complete their full shop in one order, creating a more convenient and accessible grocery shopping experience."

•  From the New York Times:

"Meta was sued by more than three dozen states on Tuesday for knowingly using features on Instagram and Facebook to hook children to its platforms, even as the company said its social media sites were safe for young people.

"Colorado and California led a joint lawsuit filed by 33 states in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, saying Meta — which owns Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger — violated consumer protection laws by unfairly ensnaring children and deceiving users about the safety of its platforms. The District of Columbia and eight other states filed separate lawsuits on Tuesday against Meta with most of the same claims.

"In their complaint, the states said Meta had 'designed psychologically manipulative product features to induce young users’ compulsive and extended use' of platforms like Instagram. The company’s algorithms were designed to push children and teenagers into rabbit holes of toxic and harmful content, the states said, with features like 'infinite scroll' and persistent alerts used to hook young users. The attorneys general also charged Meta with violating a federal children’s online privacy law, accusing it of unlawfully collecting 'the personal data of its youngest users' without their parents’ permission."

According to the Times, “Meta said it was working to provide a safer environment for teenagers on its apps and has introduced more than 30 tools to support teenagers and families.  'We’re disappointed that instead of working productively with companies across the industry to create clear, age-appropriate standards for the many apps teens use, the attorneys general have chosen this path,' the company said in a statement."

This is a jury on which I could not serve, because I am certain that the social media companies do all of this.  I do not believe that they make good faith efforts to protect anybody or anything except their bottom lines and rapacious appetites.  I make limited use of them, and ignore them most of the time.