A New Lawsuit Against Social Media Involves 100 Schools In US

A new lawsuit against the social network involves 100 schools in the US

The lawsuit says social media companies are liable for damage caused by their products.

The Seattle school district has filed a new lawsuit blaming Big Tech for poisoning youth with evidence of social media addiction, saying schools cannot fulfill their educational mission while students are being worried. anxiety, depression and other psychological problems.

Alphabet Inc., Meta Platforms Inc., Snap Inc. and ByteDance Ltd., the owner of TikTok, are responsible for engaging young people on their platforms and creating a mental health crisis, according to a complaint filed late Friday in Seattle federal court. The district includes more than 100 schools and serves approximately 50,000 children.

The lawsuit appears to be the first in the US initiated by a school district, following similar complaints filed by several families last year, including more than a dozen families blaming tech companies. about suicides.

The idea that social media companies should be held accountable for the potential damage their products cause to young people emerged in late 2021 when former Meta employee Frances Haugen revealed the document. about the company’s internal operations. Among Haugen’s allegations was a claim that the company was deliberately hunting vulnerable young people to increase profits. Congress has held hearings and several state attorneys general have opened investigations.

Companies’ front line of defense is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 federal law that gives internet platforms broad immunity from claims of harmful content made by people. use post. The law has protected them from legal claims so effectively that voices on both the political left and right have called for its reform.

Google spokesman Jose Castaneda said in an email: “We have invested heavily in creating safe experiences for children on our platforms and have introduced strong protections for children. as well as specialized features to prioritize their health.” “For example, through Family Link, we give parents the ability to set reminders, limit screen time, and block specific types of content on supervised devices.”

Meta declined to comment. Representatives for Snap and TikTok did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The companies have previously said they are working to protect their youngest users, including providing resources on mental health topics and improving protections to prevent the spread of harmful content.

And in a recent example of backing the proliferation of technology that is encroaching on children’s lives, the New York City public school system – the largest in the US – this week banned students access the ChatGPT artificial intelligence program to generate text.

In Friday’s lawsuit, Seattle School District 1 is asking a judge to find that the companies have caused public nuisance and seek remedies that include monetary damages and grants. to prevent and address excessive social media use.

The district said it has seen a significant increase in suicides and emergency room mental health visits. It cited President Joe Biden’s State of the Union 2022 speech, in which he called on all to “hold social media platforms accountable for the national test they are conducting.” for our children for profit.”

“Seattle School District #1 took this action to do just that,” according to the complaint. “Youths in the plaintiff’s community are experiencing the same mental health crisis as observed across the country.”

The case is Seattle School District 1 Lawsuit v. Meta Platforms Inc., 23-cv-00032, United States District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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