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Social media encompasses a wide variety of websites, platforms, and applications that allow users to share and create content and communicate with other users. Popular social media sites include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and TikTok. These platforms allow users to share mutual interests, experiences, and ideas. Unfortunately, not all information shared on social media is positive or helpful. As a result, several social media youth harm lawsuits have been filed in an attempt to protect younger users from the negative aspects of the internet.
With the advent of this technology, many parents have rightfully become increasingly worried about the effects it might have on their children. Although social media platforms have presented unique opportunities to today's youth, evidence has shown that social media can harm participants, especially young people.
What are Some of the Negative Effects of Social Media?
A Pew Research Center study about teens and social media use revealed that 97% of teenagers use at least one social media platform and that 45% spend most of their time online. This heavy use often brings with it sleep disturbances, distractibility, and isolation. Countless individuals have been subject to bullying and harassment through these platforms, and some have even experienced changes in behavior due to social media usage, with dire consequences.
We understand that negative consequences from the use of online platforms that are practically ubiquitous in our lives can be shocking and unexpected. Trying to hold giant online corporations responsible for how their products work and seeking to undo the damage caused by social media can feel overwhelming and daunting. Fortunately, this is a legal challenge you don’t have to face alone.
If you or someone you love experienced severe injury or harm due to social media, we encourage you to speak to an experienced social media youth harm attorney. Our lawyers are committed to pursuing compensation for injured victims, and we will always take your claim seriously. Reach out to our social media youth harm attorneys today and learn how a skilled advocate can help you and your child during a free consultation.
How Social Media Accounts Can Do More Harm Than Good
Several studies now attest to the harm social media can cause, especially on young people who already face intense social pressure from school and peer groups. Those who tout the technology's benefits often overlook the widespread impact of the harmful impacts faced by children on a daily basis.
Some of the negative consequences of social media use in children and teens are:
Depression and Anxiety
Several studies have linked social media use to higher rates of depression and anxiety and increased feelings of loneliness. These symptoms can lead to poor performance in school, decreased social interaction, and ill health effects on the entire body, from impaired kidney function to a reduced immune system.
Negative Body Image and Eating Disorders
Body image and appearance are important issues for young people, especially young girls. A University of Haifa study concluded that increased social media use could inversely cause adolescent girls to develop a negative body image and various eating disorders. Eating disorders have the highest death rate among all psychological disorders, and sufferers endure, on average, 48% higher healthcare costs and 48% lower earnings compared to the general population.
Bullying and Harassment
Teens and young people are routinely exposed to online bullying (cyberbullying), harassment, and hate speech. While perpetrators of these harmful acts hide behind their computers and phones, victims of these behaviors often face shame and embarrassment and feel reluctant to seek help from parents or teachers.
Self-Harm and Suicide
Unfortunately, some victims of the negative consequences of online abuse feel hopeless, desperate, and like there is nowhere to turn. Sometimes, these feelings lead victims to self-harm and even suicide. Research from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has shown a link between bullying and increased suicidal ideation and suicide. It can be difficult to reach out to suicidal teens or know how to step in and offer help. If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Text TALK to 741741.
The negative effects of social media can have devastating consequences on families and loved ones. If you or someone you love experienced youth harm due to the use of Facebook or another online platform, we encourage you to speak with a qualified attorney about the possibility of bringing a social media lawsuit.
Social media can wreak havoc on the lives of those we care for, but you don't have to suffer in silence. Reach out to our social media attorneys for answers and find out how our mass tort law firm can help you pursue justice with a social media youth harm claim.
Dangerous Social Media Challenges Can Be Deadly
Online "challenges" present more life-threatening concerns. While some online games may involve relatively harmless activities, many revolve around dangerous stunts that encourage children and teens to imitate the reckless behavior of others in hopes of going viral. These trends have seen young people taking dangerous amounts of prescription or over-the-counter drugs, starting fires, burning themselves, and choking themselves.
In a lawsuit sparked by one of these challenges, plaintiffs alleged that TikTok's algorithm brought one of these dangerous challenges to the "For You" front pages of the app and contributed to the deaths of some of its users.Lawsuits like these have become more common in recent years, including the Omegle lawsuit. However, you should never file a claim involving a social media company without a skilled legal advocate if you want a favorable outcome. Although these companies may have astronomical net worths, they also have large teams of defense attorneys and are unwilling to part with their money. These complex and challenging legal battles require skill, finesse, and legal knowledge. Giant tech companies are not liable to back down unless you partner with a skilled social media youth harm attorney who can build a strong case for you.
How Do Social Media Algorithms Perpetuate Harm?
In addition to the recreational use of social networking, social media strategy is a part of many businesses. Many companies and firms employ creative talent and use the latest technology to attract potential clients and reach their target audience with information and interactive content.
However, the algorithms that fuel these social media tools can also lead to damaging or outright dangerous content. In Gonzales vs. Google, the surviving family of a university student killed in a terrorist mass shooting claimed that Google's algorithm allowed radicalizing videos on YouTube to proliferate. Cases like this one could have dramatic effects on social media law.
Social Media Companies Target Young People For Profit
Social media giants have enormous incentives to target young people. As the younger generation enters the consumer marketplace and workforce, these companies tailor their algorithms to attract teens and young adults, despite the harm their services cause.
Features that allow users to share their location and personal information can also put children and youth at risk of stalking, identity theft, and sexual predators. In 2018, Instagram invested $390 million into social media campaigns targeting 13- to 15-year-olds, naming them as the platform's most important source of ad revenue.
Social Media Law at a Glance
Social media is no stranger to public outcry and scandal. In 2021, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, leaked documents that revealed the company's intentional social media efforts to target children and teens. Moreover, Facebook knew that these strategies hurt young people. The leaked documents exposed troubling data linking increased suicidal thoughts and self-harm to teenage girls who used the app.
In 2022, plaintiffs filed over 70 lawsuits against Meta (formerly Facebook), Snap, TikTok, and Google claiming the social media platforms are “hooking kids” and causing real-world harm.
Just recently, in Florida, House Bill 1 (HB 1) was passed by the House and is moving to the Senate for a vote. This bill seeks to ban any teen or child under the age of 16 from using social media. The law calls for:
- Social media companies to prohibit minors from creating new accounts
- Reasonable age verification for new accounts by social media companies
- Account termination for all accounts held by people under the age of 15
- The allowance for a teen or parent to request for their account to be terminated immediately
- And, if the account is terminated, for all personal information about the teen to be deleted
The Florida bill did forget to define what a social media platform is, so that could cause a can of worms. But we will see.
We are closely following the progression of new social media harm lawsuits and our legal team is ready to answer any questions about your unique circumstances during a confidential and free consultation.
Are Social Media Platforms Immune From Lawsuits?
The vast resources and legal protection these companies receive makes social media litigation complex and challenging. Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act provides immunity to social media companies and websites for third-party content shared by users. This measure protects these entities from responsibility for the potentially harmful content that is not considered the company's intellectual property because it is produced by third-party users.
However, this legal protection is not without weaknesses. Law firms are beginning to use a new tactic to hold social media channels accountable for the content they allow to flourish: product liability. Product liability claims argue that online platform creators bear responsibility for the flaws or defects in their products that lead to injuries.
Under this legal argument, the algorithms that social media uses to attract certain users (especially younger children) and distribute dangerous content could make these platforms liable for the harm they cause.
How Does Multidistrict Litigation Relate to Social Media Lawsuits?
Several federal lawsuits filed against social media entities have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation for pre-trial evidence discovery and motion hearing purposes. The companies involved include Alphabet Inc. (owner of Google LLC and YouTube LLC.), Meta (owner of Facebook and Messenger platforms), Snap Inc. (owner of Snapchat), and TikTok Inc. The litigation consists of more than 80 suits in 35 federal districts.
The plaintiffs claim that these social media platforms encourage addictive behavior, especially among adolescents, by design and the companies should be held responsible for the damages that resulted.
How Can a Mass Tort Attorney Help You?
Social media companies have deep pockets and vast resources to defend themselves against lawsuits. If you or a loved one has experienced harm due to social media, you need a team of social media lawyers who are well-versed in how social media causes youth harm in your corner fighting to recover damages for you.
Just as victims seek compensation from responsible parties after a personal injury or an auto accident, you can seek justice for losses related to social media.
Potential compensation may cover your losses arising from:
- Pain and suffering
- Self-harm or suicide
- Medical treatment
- Psychological care
- Emotional distress
You need an injury attorney who stays current on current social media law developments and pending cases and who has the experience and resources necessary to take on these media giants. Our mass tort lawyers can investigate your case and help you identify responsible parties.
Although pursuing a claim against a social media entity is no easy task, our legal team is up for the challenge and comes equipped with the skill to fight for your rights.
A skilled social media youth harm attorney can:
- Identify which party(s) you need to file a claim against
- Determine the value of your damages, including health care, pain and suffering, and wrongful death or bodily injury
- Build a solid strategy around your claim
- Help you navigate every aspect of your case and the litigation process
- Negotiate a fair settlement value if possible
- Represent you in court if your case goes to trial
Our legal team recognizes that social media can cause great harm to young people and we believe that you have the right to seek reparations for the damages you have suffered. Our mission is to challenge the corporate giants responsible for this technology, and fight for positive online changes and increased safety for today's youth.
If social media harmed you, we urge you to speak with one of our experienced attorneys. OUr compassionate team of legal professionals can explain your legal options and how to take the action needed to recover the compensation you deserve.
A Law Firm That Stands Up for the Rights of Victims
Our law firm stands with victims of social media youth harm and is eager to provide aid to those injured by it. Call us at 866-535-9515 or reach out to us online for a free consultation and to learn if you can bring a social media youth harm legal claim.