SEATTLE — The Seattle Public School District is launching a new lawsuit against the tech giants behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, trying to hold them accountable for the youth mental health crisis.
Seattle Public Schools filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Friday. The 91-page complaint alleges that social media companies caused public nuisance by directing their products to children.
We accuse them of exacerbating mental health and behavioral disorders such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and cyberbullying. Make the education of students more difficult. Schools can also be forced to take actions such as hiring additional mental health professionals, creating lesson plans on social media influences, and providing additional training to teachers.
“Defendant took advantage of the fragile brains of young people and hooked tens of millions of students across the country into a positive feedback loop of the overuse and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,” the complaint states. “Worse still, the content curated by defendants and directed at young people is too often harmful and exploitative…”
Meta, Google, Snap and TikTok did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.
Federal law — Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — helps protect online companies from liability arising from what third-party users post on their platforms, but the lawsuit says the provision is in this case the tech giant’s. It claims not to protect behavior.
“Plaintiffs do not claim that defendants are responsible for what third parties say on defendants’ platforms, but rather defendants’ own actions.” “Defendants actively endorse and promote content that is harmful to young people, including content that promotes anorexia and eating disorders,” the lawsuit said.
From 2009 to 2019, the number of students in Seattle Public Schools increased by an average of 30%, according to the lawsuit, saying they felt “extremely sad and hopeless for more than two consecutive weeks, nearly every day,” and were unable to do anything. reported that it stopped typical activity.
School districts are asking courts to stop public nuisance, award damages, and order companies to pay for preventive education and treatment for excessive and problematic social media use.
Hundreds of families have filed lawsuits against the company for damages they claim their children have suffered on social media, but it’s not clear if other school districts have filed complaints like Seattle’s.
In 2021, internal research uncovered by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen found that Instagram had a negative impact on teens by harming their body image and exacerbating eating disorders and suicidal thoughts. was shown to be known by the company. She claimed the platform prioritized profit over safety and hid her original research from investors and the public.
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