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Facebook, Instagram, and the Teen Mental Health Crisis

Pursuing Lawsuits Against Facebook and Instagram (Now Known as Meta)

Girl in front of a computer

Lawsuits have now been filed across the country against Meta Platforms, Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. These companies have been manipulating young people for years, have been using psychological tricks to persuade increased use of their products, and have long failed to protect thousands of young and at-risk users. The Michigan consumer protection attorneys at Neumann Law Group are seeking clients who have suffered mental health crises because of Meta’s irresponsible actions. Their failures were intentional. We now know that defendants were aware for years that their products, and how they were promoting them, were dangerous to young and impressionable children and teenagers. Even though they had this information right in front of them, the executives at Facebook, Instagram, and Meta have continued to use these tactics to grow their profits.

Most State Governments Have Collectively Filed Suit Against Meta

In October of 2023, over 30 states collectively lodged a federal lawsuit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, asserting that the platforms’ applications are intentionally designed to be addictive and have detrimental effects on the mental health of children. The lawsuit, endorsed by 33 state attorneys general, including Michigan was officially filed in a federal court in San Francisco. It contends that Meta has breached federal laws pertaining to children’s online privacy and state consumer protection laws by deliberately creating addictive products and subsequently misleading the public about the adverse impact on children’s mental well-being.

In addition to the federal lawsuit, eight states, including Massachusetts are pursuing independent legal actions within their respective state courts, asserting that Meta’s practices contravene state consumer protection laws. In a collective effort, a total of 42 states, inclusive of the District of Columbia, have initiated legal proceedings in both federal and state courts on this matter.

What Did Meta Know About Their Platforms’ Harmful Effects on Our Mental Health?

Facebook was developed by Mark Zuckerberg in 2003 as a social network only available for use by students at Harvard. At that time, they called it FaceMash. Its initial purpose was to rate the attractiveness of female students by comparing them to one another. The culture of body shaming and negativity on Facebook clearly started from the ground up. In 2006, Facebook became available for the general public and quickly took over as the most popular social media site around. In 2012, Facebook acquired the photo sharing application Instagram and spread their reach even further.

On October 5, 2021, a whistleblower from Facebook testified before the United States Senate. She detailed how Meta knew that their programs were causing psychological harm to youth, and still ignored this information. They continued their methods to promote extended use of their social media websites and took advantage of the harm they were causing. The whistleblower produced documents to support her evidence and exposed Facebook, Instagram, and Meta for their negative impacts on society.

A JAMA Psychiatry investigation published in 2019 found that teens who use social media for more than three hours per day are at an increased risk for mental health problems. After the study, the teens showed internalizing problems, like self-esteem problems, negative self-talk, and depression. There were also externalizing issues, such as bullying and attention seeking. There are many other studies available with similar results recommending moderation of time spent on social media and increased focus on social media literacy.

Neumann Law Group is Accepting New Facebook, Instagram, and Meta Youth Mental Health Cases Schedule a Free Consultation Today

At the Neumann Law Group, our Michigan personal injury attorneys are currently offering free consultations nationwide to those who have suffered from mental health crises due to the use of Facebook, Instagram, and Meta. These illnesses include depression, anxiety, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, self-harm, suicidal ideation, attempted suicide, or any other mental illness experienced. To qualify for a possible claim, a potential client must have been a minor when they began using Facebook and/or Instagram use, must have been online more than three (3) hours per day, and must have documented counseling with no prior history of mental illness. For a consultation with a Michigan social media injury lawyer in Grand Rapids, Detroit or Traverse City, call us at (800) 525-6386 or complete our online form. We also can assist people who have suffered harm from mass torts, class action, or personal injury.

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