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New York City Announces Lawsuit Against America’s Biggest Social Media Companies – Legal Reader

In announcing the lawsuit, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said that social media applications have devastated children’s mental health.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has announced a lawsuit against five social media platforms, claiming that each company is responsible for “fueling the nationwide youth mental health crisis.”
According to The Hill, the complaint was filed earlier this week in a California superior court. It names plaintiffs including Facebook, Meta, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube.
“Youth are now addicted to defendants’ platforms in droves,” the 311-page lawsuit claims, adding that the city’s school district—accounting for about 1 million students—has had to adjust its policies to accommodate social media-related disruptions, cyber-bullying, and mental health crises.
Adams, a Democrat, stressed that the City of New York spends more than $100 million each year on youth mental health programs and initiatives.
“Over the past decade, we have seen just how addictive and overwhelming the online world can be, exposing our children to a non-stop stream of harmful content and fueling our national youth mental health crisis,” Adams said in a statement.
“Today, we’re taking bold action on behalf of millions of New Yorkers to hold these companies accountable for their role in this crisis, and we’re building on our work to address this public health hazard,” he said. “This lawsuit and action plan are part of a larger reckoning that will shape the lives of our young people, our city, and our society for years to come.”
However, several of the defendant companies have already condemned the filing, saying that they prioritize the safety of their youngest users and integrate features intended to protect children’s mental health and psychological well-being.
Social media icons. Image via Flickr/user:staceycav. (CCA-BY-2.0).
“The allegations in this complaint are simply not true,” said Jose Castaneda, a spokesperson for Google, the parent company of YouTube.
Castaneda further told ABC News that the company collaborates with young users, mental health professionals, and parenting experts to guide its internal decision-making.
“Providing young people with a safer, healthier experience online has always been core to our work,” Castaneda added. “In collaboration with youth, mental health and parenting experts, we’ve built services and policies to give young people age-appropriate experiences, and parents robust controls. The allegations in this complaint are simply not true.”
A TikTok spokesperson made similar claims.
“TikTok has industry-leading safeguards to support teens’ well-being, including age-restricted features, parental controls, an automatic 60-minute time limit for users under 18, and more,” the company told ABC News in an emailed statement.
Meta, meanwhile, said that it offers “over 30 tools and features” to facilitate children’s user-experiences on Facebook and Instagram.
“We want teens to have safe, age-appropriate experiences online, and we have over 30 tools and features to support them and their parents,” Meta said in a statement partially reprinted by The Hill. “We’ve spent a decade working on these issues and hiring people who have dedicated their careers to keeping young people safe and supported online.”
But Adams and city attorneys indicated that, no matter what promises social media companies may make, it is obvious that digital platforms have had a deleterious effect on their youngest users.
“Instead of talking to each other over lunch at the cafeteria, they are absorbed in screens,” Adam said. “Instead of playing at the park with friends, they are inside on a sunny day, clicking and scrolling.”
“Instead of learning confidence and resilience,” he said, “they’re being exposed to content that often leads to insecurity and depression.”
Mayor Adams Announces Lawsuit Against Social Media Companies Fueling Nationwide Youth Mental Health Crisis
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