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Instagram’s Parent Company Lands on Watchdog’s ‘Naughty List’: It ‘Targets Teens’ with Harmful Content

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A top family media watchdog this week placed Meta and HBO on its “naughty” list for the 2023 holiday season, saying the two companies have targeted “children with harmful content” and have done little to help parents control what kids can consume.

The Parents Television and Media Council releases the list each year and also compiles a “nice” list to spotlight companies that have benefited families. Bentkey and AppleTV Plus made this year’s “nice” list.

“In a screen-saturated world, children, teens, and their parents have a lot to navigate,” said Melissa Henson, vice president of the Parents Television and Media Council. “Meta and HBO aren’t making this any easier for families by targeting youth with explicit sexual and other harmful content. Our Naughty & Nice List seeks to highlight some of the companies that prioritize children and families and those who prioritize profit over child safety.”

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, “continues to be revealed by media outlets, whistleblowers, and lawsuits as fueling child sexual exploitation, providing a platform for pedophiles, and enabling sexually explicit and other harmful content that targets teens, especially teen girls,” PTC said in a news release. 

“Meta was sued by the District of Columbia and 41 states claiming its products are addictive and potentially harmful to children and their mental health,” PTC said. “If the growing evidence isn’t a wakeup call for greater accountability for Meta, we don’t know what is.” 

HBO has “led the charge towards marketing explicit, adult content to children and teens” with shows such as The Idol, Naked Attraction, and Euphoria, PTC said. Additionally, PTC research has “found that HBO’s streaming platform Max has mediocre parental controls, enabling children to access to the aforementioned programs and more of the most explicit streaming content on the market.”

On the nice list, AppleTV Plus “was found to offer the largest number of TV-G rated original programming,” according to PTC’s 2023 study of streaming platforms.

Bentkey, a children’s streaming platform from The Daily Wire, offers “safe and appropriate children’s programming,” PTC said.  

“Bentkey joins others like UP, Great American Family, INSP, Dove, Pure Flix, and Angel Studios in producing and distributing enjoyable family-friendly fare, clearly fulfilling audience demand,” PTC added.

Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Robert Daly


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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