School district’s lawsuit against TikTok, YouTube, and Meta alleges ‘unprecedented mental health crisis’

A school district in Maryland has filed a lawsuit against Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube, claiming that the companies’ harmful product features have created a “mental health crisis among America’s youth.” The suit contends that tech giants such as ByteDance, Google, Meta, and Snap intentionally create “self-destructive feedback loops” that target developing brains in younger people and promote disconnection and disassociation. The lawsuit aims to hold tech companies accountable and ensure that long-term planning and funding are put in place to reduce the mental health crises experienced by students as a result of social media. The school district claims that companies’ products trigger crises that lead young people to skip school, abuse alcohol or drugs. They also act out in ways that harm the school’s “educational mission.” Howard County is one of several school districts in Maryland and other states fighting to curb tech companies’ harms on youth mental health. TikTok, YouTube, and Meta have rejected the suit’s claims, arguing that they offer age-appropriate experiences and vet content before it reaches a large audience, which helps protect against the promotion and discovery of potentially harmful material.

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