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Social Media Addiction Lawsuit

Teens and young adults are particularly vulnerable to the extremely harmful effects of social media addiction, including depression, self-harm, eating disorders, suicidal ideation, and injury of suicide. Social media companies such as Meta have designed their platforms to be addictive, putting profits over the safety of their users. The Lanier Law Firm is helping victims fight back through social media addiction lawsuits. Contact us today at 1-800-723-3216 for a free case evaluation.

Rachel Lanier

Legally Reviewed By: Rachel Lanier
Managing Attorney | Los Angeles

Rachel Lanier

Legally Reviewed By: Rachel Lanier
Managing Attorney | Los Angeles

Why You’ll Want The Lanier Law Firm to Handle Your Social Media Addiction Lawsuit

Social media has become addictive, and Meta, Snapchat, and TikTok know it. They also know that social media addiction is causing serious mental health issues, especially in its youngest, most impressionable users.

Social media companies don’t care about you or your children. They care about money. When taking on these giants, you’ll need an advocate with the resources and experience to match.

If you or your child or teen have suffered harm because of social media addiction, now is the time to stand up and take action. You may have the right to file a social media addiction lawsuit and hold the billion-dollar social media giants accountable. Call The Lanier Law Firm for help. We’re not afraid to take on billion-dollar corporations or powerful defendants. We do it on behalf of our clients every day.

Founder Mark Lanier and seasoned product liability attorneys Rachel Lanier and Michael A. Akselrud understand just how devastating the effects of social media addiction can be, and they genuinely care about the clients they represent.

Social Media Addiction Lawsuit Updates

May 7, 2024

In the federal MDL, both sides have made bellwether trial picks.  In the California coordinated proceedings, in mid-June, the Court will select 24 bellwether cases randomly, with a goal for trial to begin in June of 2025. In the meantime, the parties continue to identify relevant witnesses and negotiate for the production of documents.  

April 18, 2024

Judge Kuhl, who oversees the California coordinated proceedings, ordered the parties to meet and confer on categories of randomly selected cases for a personal injury bellwether discovery pool. Judge Kuhl expects a random selection of cases to take place on June 17 of this year. Discovery is expected to close for those cases in December.

March 8, 2024

The Lanier Law Firm has filed additional cases against social media companies, and several courts have now ruled that lawsuits can proceed. The companies have been ordered to engage in discovery and to produce documents that concern their harmful conduct. Trials may begin to take place at some point next year.

January 31, 2024

In a four-hour Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, senators from both sides of the aisle questioned social media CEOs about the risks their platforms pose to young people. Today’s hearing focused specifically on issues related to child exploitation and generally on the mental health impacts of social media.

CEOs from Meta, TikTok, Snapchat, X, and Discord acknowledged shortcomings and highlighted initiatives they have taken to address the issue. Senators at the hearing recognized their failure to pass any federal legislation to regulate how children interact with social media, citing lobbying efforts by the social media companies and a lack of congressional support.

There are now close to 500 actions filed against social media companies. Discovery has opened, and the lawyers for the victims are looking closely through the documents produced by the social media companies to build their case as to the negligent conduct. The lawyers for the victims, including the Lanier Law Firm, are also leading the fight for more transparency and a greater production of documents to fully expose the conduct and harms imposed on our nation’s youth.

November 7, 2023

In a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and Law today, a second whistleblower testified that Meta was aware of the harm young users faced on their apps but chose not to take measures to stem it. Arturo Bejar, a former Facebook engineering director and Instagram consultant, said Meta leadership ignored his research and dismissed safety recommendations for Facebook and Instagram.

Senators at the subcommittee meeting called for the passage of the bipartisan “Kids Safety Online Act” bill that establishes guidelines for protecting children and teens on social media platforms.

October 24, 2023

Today, a bipartisan group of 42 attorneys general filed a federal lawsuit against Meta, alleging that Facebook and Instagram have features that are addictive and specifically target children and teenagers.

The lawsuit also alleges that Meta violated its obligations under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) by unlawfully collecting the personal data of its youngest users without parents’ consent.

October 13, 2023

Today, the California JCCP determined that social media plaintiffs’ negligence claims will move forward. The court asked “whether a social media company may maximize its own benefit and advertising revenue at the expense of the health of minor users” and whether the law provides a remedy for such behavior.  While the court found that the social media platform is not a “product” for the purpose of applying products liability statutes, it also determined that Defendants can be sued for negligence.  Neither are they entitled to escape negligence liability by either federal immunity statutes or the First Amendment.  The court further determined that plaintiffs adequately pled their claim for fraudulent concealment, protecting plaintiffs’ statute of limitations.

September 2023

There are currently 408 cases pending in the MDL.

July 2023

A key deadline for the social media addiction multi-district litigation (MDL) is on the horizon. The deadline for the initial motion to dismiss and the corresponding opposition and reply passed in June, with no motion filed. However, another deadline, specifically for the Motion to Dismiss on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and the First Amendment Deadline, is coming on August 15, 2003.

Section 230 protects internet-based companies like Meta, TikTok, and Snapchat from liability for third-party content. Courts have applied Section 230 to several cases, including negligence cases, leading many to believe the defense will cite the statute as part of their strategy.

March 2023

On March 28, 2023, the Arkansas Attorney General and Governor announced that The Lanier Law Firm would join them in pursuing litigation against Meta, the company behind the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, seeking to recover costs incurred in treating neurological disorders and addiction-induced behaviors caused by the excessive use of their platforms by children and adolescents. Read the full Meta lawsuit complaint and listen to Mark Lanier discussing the case:

“Hey, I’m Mark Lanier. There’s nothing more important than our children. Our children represent the next generation and it’s great and fascinating. Now, when I grew up, it was before the computer age, and I can remember back in the ’70s and in the ’60s even, and we’d go outside and we’d play all day long when we weren’t in school. We now live in an era where children are much more computer-literate and computer accessing, especially since COVID. And as a result, children get on computers, not simply the big ones at home or at school, but the cell phone that contains more computing ability than the rocket that put men on the moon.

And the problem we’ve got is these children are being taken advantage of. There are algorithms and enticements within so many of these programs that actually are altering our children’s mind, making them not only addicted to the content and to pursuing these computer uses, but it also is one that is affecting their self-esteem, their social skills, and so much more. And I was delighted when I found out that the attorney general for the state of Arkansas was going to spearhead an effort to bring social media into accountability, to have them alter their practices so that they’re not damaging the next generation, but rather are available to enhance and make life better. After all, that’s what we expect from those programs.

And so, on behalf of the state of Arkansas, I’ve been fortunate enough to be the lawyer that leads the charge, bringing litigation against Facebook and seeking out the data that we need to seek out to ensure that the internet, as much as possible, is a safe space for our children because we treasure the next generation.” – Mark Lanier, Founder of The Lanier Law Firm

What is social media addiction?

Social media addiction is characterized by the compulsive urge to spend time on social media. Our brains release feel-good chemicals when we engage on social media. The more we engage, the better we feel. So, we keep coming back for more.

It’s no different than becoming addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or gambling. Over time, it takes increasing amounts of the thing that’s making us feel good to satisfy us. That’s why we begin to experience a compulsive urge to check social media.

While adults can become addicted to social media and experience adverse effects, the most significant problems tend to be seen in kids, teens, and young adults.

Signs of social media addiction, particularly in teenagers, include:

  • Increased screen time and time spent on social media platforms
  • Constantly checking social media, especially first thing in the morning
  • Staying up late scrolling social media
  • Anxiety related to extended breaks from or the inability to check social media
  • Using social media as a “pick me up” when you’re feeling blue
  • Spending less time with friends, family, and peers in person
  • Spending less time engaging in enjoyable activities
  • Changes in personal relationships
  • Struggling at work or school
  • Creating fake social media accounts or hiding social media accounts from friends or parents
  • Marked changes in mood, behavior, and overall health

If you’ve experienced these symptoms or recognize them in your teenager, speak with a licensed mental health professional about your social media use.

You may also want to speak with an experienced social media addiction lawyer, as you may have the right to take legal action if you’ve suffered any ill effects.

Teenagers using social media

Algorithms Feed Social Media Addiction

Companies behind social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok are billion-dollar entities. These platforms are free to use, so the companies make their money on advertising. The more time users spend scrolling their social media feeds, the more money the companies make.

So, there’s an incentive to make users crave social media and keep them coming back for more.

You’ve probably heard about algorithms, which are essentially a list of instructions that tells the social platform which content to serve to users based on their interests and behaviors on social media. In theory, the algorithms should individualize each user’s experience and provide relevant content, filtering out what they don’t want to see.

In reality, the more we see content we like or that evokes an emotional response, the more likely it becomes that we spend more time scrolling social media.

Further, the more “likes” we get on posts and the more notifications we receive, the more addictive social media becomes. These things release dopamine — the feel-good chemical — and make us crave more.

Social media companies understand this and have taken algorithms to an entirely new level, using them to make their products intentionally addictive.

The more time that people — particularly kids, teens, and young adults — spend on social media, the more likely it becomes that they’ll suffer from depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations, and other mental health problems.

In fact, social media addiction statistics indicate that teenagers who spend three or more hours online are at an increased risk of these issues. The average teen spends three hours and one minute using social media, and some log as many as seven hours online.

Social Media Companies Know Their Platforms are Addictive — and They Don’t Care

Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat, among others, are built to be addictive.

According to Facebook’s former director of monetization, Tim Kendall, Facebook knowingly made its social media platform “as addictive as cigarettes.”

In an interview, Kendall acknowledged that Facebook’s objective is to “get more people to pay attention to your product and to pay attention longer each and every day.” The company created algorithms to make this happen, essentially luring vulnerable and impressionable teenagers onto the platform.

Kendall called Facebook “fundamentally addictive” and admitted that “it’s causing all kinds of mental health issues … [and] eroding aspects of society.”

Kendall’s sentiments were confirmed by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, who testified before the U.S. Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation on October 4, 2021.

In her testimony, she explained that Facebook executives “repeatedly encountered conflicts between its own profits and our safety” and “consistently resolved those conflicts in favor of its own profits.”

Simply put, social media companies knowingly prioritize profits over the health and well-being of their users.

Who can file a social media lawsuit?

Social media lawsuits have taken the nation by storm, with more than 1,200 families (and counting) taking legal action.

You may have the right to file a social media addiction lawsuit if:

  • You spend three or more hours using social media every day.
  • Your social media addiction began before you turned 21.
  • Social media addiction has caused psychological or physical harm, including suicide, attempted suicide, self-harm, depression, anxiety, and/or eating disorders.
  • You have sought or received treatment for said psychological or physical harm.

Snapchat Fentanyl Lawsuits

Snap Inc., owners of the popular app Snapchat, is also facing legal action from families whose children died due to fentanyl poisoning after using the app to purchase drugs. The app’s unique features, such as disappearing content, make it difficult for parents to monitor their children’s activities on the app.

In the case of fentanyl deaths, another Snapchat feature, Snap Maps, allows users to pinpoint their location, giving drug dealers direct access to children to target them as potential customers. Although children believed they were buying legitimate prescription drugs from dealers on the app, in almost all cases, dealers sold them counterfeit pills laced with Fentanyl instead.

If a Snapchat fentanyl death has impacted your family, The Lanier Law Firm can help. Our social media harm attorneys can help you determine your legal rights. We are currently taking cases on behalf of families who lost children due to the dangerous design of this app.

What compensation can I recover in a social media addiction lawsuit?

The potential consequences of social media addiction can impact every aspect of a victim’s life. For teens, the effects can last a lifetime.

Body dysmorphia and eating disorders can cause severe damage to the body. Bullying and attempts to commit suicide can have detrimental effects on a person’s physical and mental health.

Depression, anxiety, and ADHD can fundamentally change the course of a young person’s life, driving them away from friends and family and onto dangerous paths.

Through a social media addiction lawsuit, you can demand compensation for the financial, physical, and emotional consequences you’ve endured.

Potential damages can include money for:

  • Current and future medical bills
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • In-patient therapy services
  • Lost job opportunities
  • Reduced earning capacity
  • Emotional distress
  • Embarrassment
  • Damage to reputation
  • Wrongful death of a family member

You can also send a clear message to social media companies by seeking punitive damages, which can be awarded when there’s clear and convincing evidence that they intentionally caused harm or knowingly failed to disclose the risks associated with their apps and platforms.

Your lawsuit is an opportunity to hold these money- and power-hungry corporations accountable for their actions, while protecting future users from the same fate in the process.

“My name is Zeke DeRose, and I am a senior attorney in the commercial litigation section at The Lanier Law Firm. And maybe more importantly, for purposes of this video, I’m also the father of three young girls.

One of the great things about working at The Lanier Law Firm is the opportunity to work on cases you’re passionate about, the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives, not only individuals but communities, states, and sometimes even across the globe.

And I think that’s the opportunity we have here in our social media addiction case in Arkansas against Facebook and Instagram, against Meta. What we’re seeing over the course of the last 10, 15 years is an increase in the mental and physical health crisis with our young people, and at the same time we’re seeing an increase in social media addiction. And that’s because these companies like Facebook and Instagram continue to put profits ahead of safety regardless of the consequences. And they seemingly sit idly by and watch our schools and our communities and our states try and pick up the pieces.

And that’s because they’ve realized that the longer they can keep our young people on their apps, on their devices, the more likely they are to become addicted. And the more likely they are to become addicted, the more profitable our young kids are to them, the more revenue these companies can make.

And so what they’re doing to feed that addiction is they’re feeding them provocative material, salacious material, violence, sexual content, divisive content, because they want to keep them on the app, they want to keep that anticipation, that addiction, that dopamine hit, and the longer they’re on the more money they make.

But that dopamine hit of seeing that content, of having that addiction, is similar to a gambling addiction, is similar to drugs and alcohol. It’s the feeling you get when you pull the slot machine lever and it’s spinning and you’re wondering what is it going to land on? What is it going to hit on? And that’s when that dopamine hit comes similar to when our kids are scrolling on their Instagram feed and they’re wondering what’s going to come up next? What am I going to see? And I need to be on here.

The interesting thing is that delay sometimes, that delay in the feed of what’s coming up next isn’t necessarily because you have a slow internet connection, it isn’t because you have bad service, it’s built into the system to feed the addiction, to feed that need, and to play with that dopamine hit and that desire for more. And as we’re seeing this addiction rise, we’re seeing suicide rates go up, we’re seeing anxiety, depression, body dysmorphia, loneliness, all these things that our kids, our families, and our communities are having to grapple with.

Equally concerning or more concerning is that these companies knew and know that this is harmful to our kids, especially our girls, and yet they continued to double down because they could double their profits, they could make more money. And so I’m proud to have the opportunity to represent the families, the communities, and the people of Arkansas against these social media giants to hold them accountable.”

Call The Lanier Law Firm to Discuss Your Social Media Addiction Lawsuit

Social media is deliberately designed to be addictive. With addiction comes the risk of serious physical and mental health problems, including suicidal tendencies, eating disorders, and distorted self image.

Whether you’re personally struggling with social media addiction or caring for a teen or young adult who has become addicted, you shouldn’t have to bear this burden on your own.

Social media giants created this epidemic. They must be held accountable. The Lanier Law Firm is ready to stand beside you and fight for the justice you deserve.

We’re continually recognized as some of the most compelling, compassionate, and successful trial attorneys in the nation. Now, we’re ready to invest our considerable experience and resources in your social media addiction lawsuit.

We’re standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call to schedule a free consultation today.

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