Seattle public schools sue TikTok, Facebook and other big social media companies for young people ‘mental health crisis’

A lawsuit accuses companies behind TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube of harming the mental health of young people

Seattle Schools sues social media firms over youth mental health crisis

The Seattle Public School District has filed a lawsuit in the United States against several major social media sites, accusing them of harming the mental health of young people across the country. The lawsuit, filed Friday in the th U.S. District Court, accused the social media companies behind TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube of “creating a mental health crisis among America’s youth.”

“Defendants’ growth is a product of choices they made to design and operate their platforms in ways that exploit the psychology and neurophysiology of their users into spending more and more time on their platforms. These techniques are both particularly effective and harmful to the youth audience,” the 91-page lawsuit said.

The lawsuit blamed the companies’ alleged wrongdoing for increasing anxiety, depression, self-harm and suicidal thoughts among young people.

Young People on Social media

According to the lawsuit, between 2009 and 2019, there was an average 30 percent increase in the number of Seattle Public Schools students who reported feeling so sad or hopeless almost every day for two consecutive weeks that [they] stopped doing normal activities .

According to the lawsuit, when students experience various mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, their performance in school decreases, making them less likely to attend school and more likely to use substances and “act out,” which in turn does. It is difficult for the “Seattle public.” the ability of schools to fulfill their educational mission”.

But the lawsuit alleges that the provision does not protect social media companies and that they are liable for recommending, distributing and promoting and marketing their social media platforms in a “harmful manner.”

Google spokesman José Castañeda said in a statement to Axios that Google “has invested heavily in creating safe experiences for children on all our platforms and implemented strong safeguards and special features to put their well-being first,” referring to Family Link, which is older . as an example. control feature that allows parents to set screen time and limit content, among other things.


Similarly, Snapchat said it works closely with a number of mental health organizations to provide users with in-app tools and resources, and that the well-being of the community is its top priority, the company told Reuters.

In October 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg rejected accusations from lawmakers that Facebook was profiting from the mental health of young people.


“We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don’t know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed,” he said.

Source of information ; SeattleTimes

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