Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is under fire with new litigation accusing the social media giant of designing and manufacturing their platforms in a way that causes social media addiction and self-destructive behavior in kids and teens. Other social media platforms and companies included in the recently formed multi-district litigation are Alphabet (Google’s parent company), YouTube, Snapchat, and ByteDance (TikTok’s parent company).
The social media platforms are accused of purposely creating their products in a way that ultimately causes adolescents to commit suicide, engage in bodily harm, develop eating disorders, exposure to sex trafficking, exposure to cyberbullying, and to suffer from severe depression, among other harmful effects. It is all a result of social media addiction and is one reason why people want to know how to file a lawsuit against Facebook.
One of the lawsuits initially alleged that while it is technological feasible for these companies to design their social media products in a way to substantially decrease the frequency and severity of harm to our young, they choose to put profit over human life. They choose to promote social media addiction. The products are designed in a way to keep the user engaged for longer times, with often harmful or dangerous content being promoted to the top of their newsfeeds. Further, Meta specifically is accused of designing their algorithm in a way that exploits the kids and teenagers who have not yet fully developed their brains, they have diminished decision-making capacity, impulse control, and emotional maturity. In other words, social media platforms take advantage of their incomplete brain development as part of their goal of social media addiction.
Because kids and teenagers’ brains are not yet fully developed, they are more likely than adults to suffer serious psychological and physical harm resulting from their social media use, which in some cases is social media addiction. Specifically, adolescent’s brains have not fully developed in the regions related to risk evaluation, emotion regulation, and impulse control, all of which put them at risk of greater harm via consumption of social media than an adult user. As their brains are still being developed, they are also being exposed to this toxic content.
All of this is particularly dangerous because of the amount of time that kids and teenagers are spending on social media. According to this survey by the Common Sense Census, overall screen time for kids has jumped 17% since before the pandemic. Daily screen time for tweens (kids 8-12) rose from four hours and forty-four minutes a day with teenagers (13-18) skyrocketing their usage from an already staggering seven hours and twenty two minutes to over eight and a half hours. Instagram clocks over 57 million users below the age of 18 which means that 72% of America’s youth is on Instagram. This is proof in part of social media addiction. This type of long-term exposure to the toxic content by an as yet properly developed brain can lead to long-term, irremediable effects of adverse influences, including addiction and a damaged and fractured sense of psychological well-being.
Even more damning, a former Facebook employee, Frances Haugen, testified to Congress that internal Meta documents show that Meta was aware of the harm their products cause users, particularly female children and adolescents. She further alleged that Meta’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before the health of our young.
“The result has been more division, more harm, more lies, more threats and more combat. In some cases, this dangerous online talk has led to actual violence that harms and even kills people,” Haugen testified.
Social media companies have generally been protected under Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act, which essentially says they are not responsible for the content published by their users. However, these new lawsuits hold Meta accountable as the designer and manufacturer of their products, which were purposely created in a way that has led to the harm of children. Meta is purposefully routing vulnerable users toward harmful content due to the design of their algorithm.
Of the current lawsuits pending, one concerns a 14 year girl who committed suicide in 2020. Her parents allege that social media companies such as TikTok and Snap purposely have biases in their algorithms relating to race and socio-economic status and that, without being targeted, their daughter never would have seen such content that ultimately tragically led to her death.
It is alleged that companies like Meta specifically and progressively modify their products to promote problematic and excessive use that they know creates a breeding ground for addictive and self-destructive behavioral patterns. These specified, targeted algorithms exploit adolescents diminished decision-making capacity, impulse control, emotional maturity, and psychological resiliency caused by users’ incomplete brain development. Companies like Meta and TikTok know that the adolescents who use their products have not fully developed brains and that those users are much more likely to suffer both physical and psychological harm. And yet, these companies not only fail to mitigate the issue by designing the products with any protections, but currently and knowingly continue to use algorithms that lead to these life-long, and at times deadly, consequences.
Call Tom Plouff, a Chicago-based attorney, now for your consultation and learn how he can help you hold the social media platform companies accountable for social media addiction. Tom Plouff Chicago IL has a proven track record in jury trials and in mass tort litigation. The MDL in California, which is the current vehicle for how to file a lawsuit against Facebook will likely take a couple of years to get to a belwether trial. It is then that the social medial platforms will likely reach out to high inventory attorneys, and Tom Plouff is not one of those, to settle the cases for relatively low amounts to each client whereas Plouff will be prepared to take your case to trial in the event of low settlement offers that might not make sense for the client to accept. There is much to discuss in this regard and Tom Plouff is ready to talk with you about the various ways for you to get money justice for what has happened to you or to those whom you love.
Victims of social media addiction should contact Tom Plouff, Chicago IL attorney, for more information on their legal options, including how to file a lawsuit against Facebook.
In the end, what is important is to be compensated for your injuries from social media addiction. You have a team of professionals on your side that will help you get through this difficult time. By investing in legal representation, you will ensure that you are protected and compensated for the harms you or your loved ones have suffered. There is no attorney fee unless there is a recovery for you.
We understand that this time is stressful and difficult, but rest assured that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. If a social media platform has injured you or anyone you know, contact Tom Plouff, Chicago IL attorney, today for help in how to file a lawsuit against Facebook or other social media platform companies who have so far gotten away with their attempts at social media addiction.