A new lawsuit filed by Seattle Public Schools against TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Snap, Instagram and their parent companies shows that the social media giants are using psychological tactics to target “young people” for their own benefit. I made good use of the fragile brain of In a mental health crisis at school.
The lawsuit, which was filed in U.S. District Court in Seattle on Friday, seeks “the fullest statutory and civil penalties permitted by law,” alleging that the companies violated Washington State’s pollution laws. increase.
Hundreds of families have filed similar lawsuits against companies following revelations about tactics used to encourage the engagement of children and teenagers on Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere.
However, Seattle Public Schools appears to be the first school district in the country to file such a lawsuit against a company.
The district claims that student social media use and addiction has caused extensive financial and operational harm. The lawsuit cites factors such as the resources needed to provide counseling services to students at risk and to investigate and respond to threats made against schools and students via social media. .
“This mental health crisis is no accident,” the lawsuit states. “This is a result of defendant’s deliberate choice and affirmative actions to design and market social media platforms to attract young people.”
At over 90 pages, the lawsuit provides extensive citations to support its claims, showing that from 2009 to 2019 the number of students in Seattle Public Schools increased by 30% from 2009 to 2019. Includes survey.consecutively for more than a week [they] I stopped doing my normal activities. ”
GeekWire reached out to the district overnight for further comment on the lawsuit and sought responses from each company. I will update when I hear this story.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said it has implemented a series of tools and safety measures for teens and families using its services in response to the parental lawsuit.
While the Seattle lawsuit primarily focuses on the mental health impact of social media, school districts and other public agencies are moving to ban TikTok from their devices due to privacy and security concerns.
With over 49,000 students and 106 schools, Seattle Public Schools is the largest K-12 school system in Washington State.
This is the latest example of the district challenging a US giant.
- In 2019, SPS was one of thousands of organizations and institutions to file lawsuits against JUUL Labs over marketing e-cigarettes to youth.The company announced a global settlement of those lawsuits last month. .
- The district also filed a friend’s brief for the court gonzalez vs googleNow, the families of American citizens killed in ISIS attacks are trying to hold YouTube accountable for letting the group spread its message.
The Gonzalez case, currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court, will test whether Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should protect social platforms from liability for content posted by others.
In a lawsuit filed Friday, the school district is looking to anticipate and preempt Section 230 defenses by social media companies.
Seattle-based law firm Keller Rohrback represented the district in the JUUL lawsuit, filed briefs on behalf of Google, and is representing SPS in a new lawsuit against the social media giant.
The lawsuit cites statements by President Joe Biden in his 2022 State of the Union address.
The lawsuit states that the school district “brought this action to do just that.”