The Seattle Public School District filed a lawsuit against Big Tech alleging that the companies were responsible for the deteriorating mental health crisis among students and directly affected the ability of schools to carry out their educational mission.
The lawsuit, filed Friday against Alphabet Inc, Meta Platforms Inc, Snap Inc and ByteDance, which owns TikTok, in U.S. District Court, alleges they purposely designed their products to engage young people with their platforms and were creating a mental health crisis.
In an emailed statement to Reuters, Google said it has invested heavily in creating safe experiences for children across its platforms and has introduced “strong protections and dedicated features to prioritize their well-being.”
Snap said it works closely with many mental health organizations to provide in-app tools and resources for users and that the well-being of its community is its top priority.
Meta Platforms and TikTok did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. In the past, companies have said their goal is to create a pleasant experience for users while excluding harmful content and investing in moderation and content controls.
The lawsuit says the companies’ actions have been a substantial factor in causing a youth mental health crisis.
“Defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of young people, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of overuse and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,” the lawsuit states.
Students with mental health problems perform worse, forcing schools to take steps such as training teachers to identify and treat these symptoms, hiring trained staff, and having additional resources to warn students about the dangers of networks. social, on demand.
The lawsuit seeks monetary damages and other penalties.
In 2021, US lawmakers accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of seeking further profit at the expense of children’s mental health, following testimony from whistleblower Frances Haugen.
Facebook has consistently said it disagrees with Haugen’s characterization that the company failed to protect teen girls on Instagram.
“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” she posted on her Facebook page in response.
“We make money from ads, and advertisers constantly tell us they don’t want their ads alongside harmful or irritating content. And I don’t know of any tech company out there that sets out to create products that make people angry or depressed.”
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life’s biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.