A California state judge ruled Friday that negligence and fraud claims on behalf of adolescents and parents can proceed against social media companies Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube.
This first-of-its-kind litigation seeks to hold these tech giants responsible for the physical harm youth face because of social media addiction. These cases allege that the platforms are all driven by features meant to maximize profits by manipulating and addicting kids and adolescents to social media.
In her 89-page order, Judge Carolyn B. Kuhl of the Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County, allowed the plaintiffs’ negligence claim to proceed saying, “Plaintiffs here allege that the effect of defendants’ algorithms and operational features on plaintiffs’ frequency and intensity of use of the social media site was not only foreseeable but was in fact intended. And plaintiffs allege that defendants were on notice through their own research and independent medical studies that this intended frequency and intensity of use of defendants’ platforms risked adverse health effects for the minor users.”
Plaintiffs seek compensation for the alleged harmful health effects of their addiction to these platforms, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, eating disorders, self-harm, and suicide. The Court found that “It is sufficiently certain, based on the allegations of the master complaint, that plaintiffs suffered injury.” The Court also allowed the plaintiffs’ claims that the Meta defendants fraudulently concealed the health harms of its Facebook and Instagram platforms to move forward.
Beasley Allen attorney Joseph VanZandt serves as co-lead counsel over California consolidated cases against social media companies and on the Plaintiff Steering Committee for the federal multidistrict litigation. Beasley Allen lawyers served in major roles to help draft plaintiffs’ complaint and oppose defendants’ dismissal efforts.
“Beasley Allen is pleased with the Court’s decision and the opportunity to obtain justice for the thousands of injured children and parents we represent,” VanZandt said. “This decision is a key step forward into holding these companies accountable for the damage they have caused to youth. We look forward to continuing our advocacy on behalf of our clients.”
Beasley Allen began filing social media personal injury lawsuits nationwide in 2022 for adolescents harmed by social media addiction. Additionally, our firm represents numerous school districts across the country in claims of nuisance and negligence resulting from social media’s harmful impact on education systems.