Social media platforms like Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, and others used psychological tactics to lure adolescents and teenagers into using their products. Then they changed their algorithms to collect their data to keep them using, and raked in millions of dollars in profits on the backs of our children. In return, our youth are suffering a mental health crisis.
Now it’s time for these tech giants to pay for their greedy and harmful ways. If you or your child suffered harm from social media, you may qualify for a social media lawsuit.
What Happens if I Qualify for the Social Media MDL?
In October 2022, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation created a social media multidistrict litigation (MDL) to handle multiple civil actions against platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and others. The cases were assigned to District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The lawsuits allege that the defendants designed defective products to be intentionally addictive and tweaked their apps’ design to exploit children’s minds.
If you qualify for participation in a social media MDL, it means that you are one of the individuals who meet the criteria set forth by the court for being part of a consolidated legal action against a social media company or companies. Here’s what typically happens to cases that qualify for a social media MDL:
- Consolidation of cases: Multiple individual lawsuits with similar claims are grouped together and transferred to a single federal district court. This consolidation helps to avoid duplicative efforts and conflicting outcomes in different courts.
- Centralization: The Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) selects a single court to handle pretrial proceedings for all the cases involved in the MDL. This court is responsible for managing discovery, evidence gathering, and other preliminary aspects of the cases.
- Efficiency and coordination: MDLs are designed to streamline the legal process by allowing common legal issues, evidence, and witnesses to be handled collectively. This increases efficiency and can lead to faster resolution.
- Bellwether trials: In some MDLs, a few representative cases, known as “bellwether” cases, are selected to go to trial before the rest. The outcomes of these cases can help all parties gauge their arguments’ strengths and weaknesses and potentially facilitate settlement negotiations.
- Settlement negotiations: MDLs often encourage parties to engage in settlement negotiations to resolve the cases without going through a full trial. Settlements can be beneficial for both plaintiffs and defendants, as they avoid the uncertainty and costs associated with trial.
- Resolution: After pretrial proceedings, including discovery and any necessary hearings, the MDL court may decide to send individual cases back to their original jurisdictions for trial or continue to handle them collectively, depending on the circumstances.
- Compensation: If a settlement is reached or the plaintiffs prevail in their cases, compensation or remedies may be awarded to the eligible plaintiffs based on the settlement terms or the court’s decision.
Who are the Defendants in a Social Media Addiction Lawsuit?
Several social media platforms currently active online and through smartphone or tablet apps are accused of perpetuating harm against youth. Some of the most popular include:
- Facebook (Meta)
- YouTube (Alphabet)
- WhatsApp (Meta)
- Instagram (Meta)
- TikTok (ByteDance)
- Snapchat (Snap Inc.)
Social Media’s Physical and Psychological Side Effects
Social media addiction can result in a range of physical and emotional symptoms. Some social media side effects we’ve seen include:
- Body dysmorphia/body image distortion/negative body image
- Eating disorders
- Injuries or death from social media challenges
- Sexual exploitation/victimization
- Suicidal thinking or suicide (If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Text TALK to 741741.)
Signs of Social Media Addiction
Social media addiction symptoms are similar to gaming addiction as described in the 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), the guidebook mental health professionals use to diagnose mental disorders. These symptoms include the following:
- Preoccupation with social media
- Withdrawal symptoms when unable to use or watch
- Inability to reduce usage or quit using
- Loss of interest in activities you enjoyed before becoming addicted to social media
- Continuing to use social media despite suffering emotional issues from using it
- Lying to family or others about how much time you spend on social media
- Using social media to quell negative moods, such as depression or loneliness
- Prioritizing social media and, as a result, allowing school work, job, or relationships to suffer
How Big of a Problem is Social Media Addiction?
Social media platforms began to rise in popularity in the early 2000s, with the launch of sites like Reddit, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. Today, more than 4 billion people seek entertainment through one or more social media sites. There are dozens currently active and new ones are regularly added.
Research began in earnest in the twenty-teens. A 2018 Pew Research Study found that 97% of teens age 13 to 17 used at least one social media platform and 45% said they were online “almost constantly.” A JAMA Psychiatry study the following year found that teenagers who used social media more than three hours a day were more likely to report feelings of depression, anxiety, aggression, and antisocial behavior.
Other studies have shown that teens who use social media were more likely to have a poor self-image or a negative body image, leading to eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, or compulsive eating. Researchers also found a correlation between social media use among teens and self-harm and suicidality.
Why You Need a Lawyer for a Social Media Lawsuit
If you or your child suffered physical or emotional harm from using social media, contact the legal team at Lawsuit Legal News. Our experienced mass tort lawyers can help you hold these tech giants responsible for the harm they have caused you or your child and get you compensation to help you heal from your losses. Call us today at 866-467-0943 or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.