Seattle Public Schools filed a lawsuit on Friday against big tech companies including Google’s YouTube, Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, Snap, and ByteDance-owned TikTok, accusing them of worsening students’ mental health.
“Defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,” said the lawsuit.
These platforms cause students with mental health issues to perform poorer, make it more challenging for schools to educate students and require them to take measures such as hiring mental health professionals, training teachers about social media and creating lesson plans about the impacts of social media, the school district added.
As reported by Axios, a spokesperson for Google said: ‘’We have invested heavily in creating safe experiences for children across our platforms and have introduced strong protections and dedicated features to prioritize their wellbeing.’’
In a statement, a spokesperson for Snap said: “While we can’t comment on the specifics of active litigation, nothing is more important to us than the wellbeing of our community.” They added that Snap works closely with mental health organizations to provide its users with resources and in-app tools for their safety.
‘’We will continue working to make sure our platform is safe and to give Snapchatters dealing with mental health issues resources to help them deal with the challenges facing young people today.“
Meanwhile, Meta’s Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis said that the company ‘’developed more than 30 tools to support teens and families, including supervision tools that let parents limit the amount of time their teens spend on Instagram, and age verification technology that helps teens have age-appropriate experiences.”
“We’ll continue to work closely with experts, policymakers and parents on these important issues,” she added.
TikTok hasn’t shared a comment about the lawsuit yet.