Social Media Addiction Lawsuit

Updates and Settlement Information

LAWSUIT STATUS: New Cases Being Accepted

Social media addiction lawsuits are being filed against Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and other platforms alleging that the companies use algorithms intended to maximize user engagement, leading to addiction, compulsive use, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, suicide and child sexual abuse.

Individuals who experienced any of the following due to using social media apps;

  • Addiction or compulsive use
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide
  • Attempted Suicide
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Other injuries

Owners and operators of the following platforms are named in social media addiction lawsuits;

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Tiktok
  • Youtube
  • Other social media platforms

Social Media Addiction Lawsuit Overview

In recent years, a number of studies and medical research that have shown heavy use of social media platforms contribute to increased depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts among adolescents and teens.

Whistleblower have further revealed that technology and social media companies have invested billions of dollars to deliberately design their platforms to be addictive and target teenagers in an effort to maximize profits, all while knowing excessive social media use at a young age, along with its curated and unrealistic portrayals of life, can severely harm young people’s mental health.

Individuals are now filing social media addiction lawsuits against the owners and operators of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, SnapChat and other platforms, claiming the intentional addictive nature of the platforms have caused children and young adults to develop serious mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders, which have resulted in attempted and actual suicides.

Lawsuits are also being filed against social media companies by families of children who have been sexually exploited or trafficked by predatory users on the platforms, asserting that the companies failed to prevent predators from targeting minors on their sites.

Who is Eligible for a Social Media Addiction Lawsuit?

Financial compensation may be available through a social media lawsuit for individuals who experienced any of the following from using Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Youtube or other online social networking services;

  • Addiction or compulsive use
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Suicide
  • Attempted Suicide
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Other injuries

To determine if you or family member qualify for a social media personal injury lawsuit, submit information for review by a lawyer, who will evaluate the circumstances of your potential claim.

Attorneys handle all social media lawsuits on a contingency fee basis, which means that there are no fees or expenses paid unless a settlement or lawsuit payout is received.

Do You Have A Case?

Social Media Addiction Lawsuit

Lawyers provide free consultations and claim evaluations for teens and young adults who have experienced depression, anxiety, eating disorders or other mental health problems resulting from social media addiction.

SEE IF YOU QUALIFY FOR COMPENSATION

2024 Social Media Lawsuit Updates

  • May 6, 2024 Update: The Oakland County School District in Michigan has filed a lawsuit against social media companies, citing increased depression, anxiety, and disruption among students that requires significant educational resources and time. The school district social media lawsuit joins a numbers of similar claims filed by schools and individuals nationwide.
  • May 1, 2024 Update: As of May 1, 2024, a total of 455 Social Media Addiction lawsuits have been filed in the Social Media Adolescent Addiction/Personal Injury Products Liability Litigation (MDL 3047). Lawyers expect the number of claims to be filed to grow significantly over the remainder of 2024 and 2025.
  • Apri1 20, 2024 Update: The social media addiction litigation is progressing, with the bellwether trial process well underway under the supervision of U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. The court has structured a multi-phase selection of cases, focusing initially on disputes brought by parents and school districts, aimed at addressing the broad claims of mental health impacts on young users. The outcomes of these early trials, set to begin jury selection in October 2025, will set pivotal precedents for handling the multitude of related lawsuits.

Can Social Media Cause Mental Health Injuries?

Yes. Medical research indicates that social media can have a profound and complex effect on mental health. Lawsuits have highlighted how social media platforms purposely show content that makes people compare themselves to unrealistic standards and feel pressured to be perfect, which can lead to mental health problems, especially in teenagers and young adults.

Lawsuits claim that some of the mental health problems stemming from problematic social media use can include depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, low self-esteem and even suicidal thoughts or actions.

Depression

Social media platforms are designed to engage users by showcasing highlights and achievements of others, often glossing over life’s challenges. This curated view can exacerbate feelings of isolation and inadequacy in users, especially those predisposed to depression.

Studies have identified a correlation between the amount of time spent on social media and increased depression risk, partly due to the phenomenon known as “social comparison,” where users measure their own lives against the idealized lives presented online. This comparison often leads to a distorted perception of reality, making personal issues feel more exclusive and severe, thus deepening depressive symptoms.

Anxiety

The mechanisms behind social media platforms are finely tuned to create an environment that rewards constant engagement with likes, comments, and shares. This environment puts pressure on users to curate a perfect online persona, leading to heightened levels of anxiety.

This can exacerbate social anxieties, contributing to a cycle of constant online presence and deterioration of real life relationships. This relentless pursuit of social validation and fear of social exclusion can transition into generalized anxiety disorders. Research indicates that this cycle of anxiety can be intensified by the algorithmic promotion of content that keeps users engaged but anxious.

Body Dysmorphia

Social media acts as a catalyst for body dysmorphia through the pervasive dissemination of altered and unrealistic body images. Platforms often promote content that adheres to narrow beauty standards, not reflecting the diversity of real human bodies.

This exposure can distort users’ body image perceptions, leading them to obsess over perceived flaws or differences. The psychological impact is profound, with some users resorting to extreme measures like disordered eating or cosmetic surgery to meet these unattainable standards.

The fact that these images are often digitally modified or selectively chosen to represent only the most flattering angles contributes to an unhealthy cycle of comparison and dissatisfaction.

Low Self-Esteem

Social media’s architecture encourages users to present an idealized version of their lives, leading to inevitable comparisons with one’s unfiltered reality. This continuous exposure to others’ best moments can severely impact self-esteem, as users might perceive their own lives as less successful or fulfilling.

The quantifiable nature of social approval on these platforms (e.g., likes and comments) provides a tangible, yet skewed, measure of self-worth, further entrenching feelings of inadequacy. The silent majority of users, who consume rather than create content, are particularly susceptible to these effects, leading to a widespread decrease in self-esteem across the platform.

Suicidal Ideation

The link between intensive social media use and suicidal thoughts or actions is among the most alarming consequences of its addiction. The platforms may inadvertently serve as echo chambers for harmful content, including glorification of self-harm or suicide, which can influence vulnerable users.

The isolation felt from online comparison, combined with cyberbullying or harassment that is prevalent on many social media sites, can contribute to feelings of despair and hopelessness. Research has shown a significant association between excessive use of these platforms and an increase in suicidal ideation, indicating the need for urgent interventions to address the mental health crises exacerbated by social media.


Link Between Social Media Addiction and Eating Disorders

Numerous lawsuits have been filed against social media companies, claiming that such platforms have played a significant role in users developing serious eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, as individuals fall into destructive patterns trying to mirror the bodies and lifestyles showcased online.

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder have been frequently cited in social media addiction lawsuits to such an extent that they have been included on the Master Short Form Complaint within the Multi-District Litigation (MDL).

  • Anorexia Nervosa: This disorder is characterized by a distorted body image and an extreme fear of gaining weight, leading to severe food restriction and dangerous weight loss.
  • Bulimia Nervosa: Bulimia involves cycles of binge eating followed by purging to prevent weight gain, often through vomiting, fasting, or excessive exercise.
  • Binge Eating Disorder: This condition is marked by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food to the point of discomfort, accompanied by a feeling of loss of control during the binge, without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating.

Studies Linking Social Media Addiction to Eating Disorders

Study on Appearance Comparisons and Body Dissatisfaction

A 2021 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health revealed a direct link between the frequency of appearance comparisons on social media and heightened body dissatisfaction and a desire for thinness, regardless of an individual’s Body Mass Index (BMI).

This research supports claims in social media addiction lawsuits regarding psychological literature on the negative impact of social media on body image issues and the development of eating disorders, highlighting the psychological effects of constant comparison facilitated by social media platforms.

Impact of Social Media on Young Users’ Mental Health

Research findings presented by the American Psychological Association demonstrate that reducing social media usage by half leads to significant improvements in body image among adolescents and young adults.

This evidence points to a strong connection between the amount of time spent on social media and negative body image perception, bolstering lawsuit claims that social media contributes to mental health issues among its users.

Influence of Social Media Content on Eating Disorders

A study published in the Eating Behaviors journal in April 2023 emphasized that the specific type of content viewed on social media plays a crucial role in affecting body image and eating behaviors. The study found that exposure to content promoting weight loss correlates with adverse body image perceptions and disordered eating patterns. In contrast, body-positive or neutral content does not necessarily mitigate these effects.

Social Media Facebook Addiction Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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Studies Linking Social Media Addiction to Suicidal Behavior

In recent years, a growing body of research has highlighted the profound impact social media can have on mental and behavioral health, particularly concerning the risk of self-harm and suicide among users.

Impact of Social Media on Loneliness, Depression, and Self-Harm: Insights from the University of Pennsylvania

A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania has established a link between social media use and increased feelings of loneliness and depression, pinpointing self-harm as one of the most alarming outcomes.

This research illuminates the profound negative effects social media can have on mental health, lending support to legal arguments that social media platforms contribute significantly to self-harming behaviors among users.

The Role of Social Media and Suicide Attempts: Findings from Nature Journal

Research featured in Nature Journal in 2014 indicates that nearly one in five individuals who self-harmed reported social media as a contributing factor to their mental health struggles and inclination towards self-harm.

Social Media Usage and Rising Suicide Rates Among Youth: Analysis by the CDC

Reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlight a concerning increase in suicide rates among young individuals aged 10 to 24, coinciding with the widespread adoption of social media.

This more than 50% increase over nearly two decades suggests a strong correlation between social media exposure and suicidal behaviors, supporting assertions that social media platforms may be failing to protect vulnerable users from severe mental health outcomes.


Social Media Addiction Lawsuit MDL

In early 2022, as the number of number of social media addiction lawsuits being filed over the practices of Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, SnapChat and other platforms quickly began to rise, Brianna Murden, filed a motion to transfer with the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) on August 1, 2022.

At the time the motion was filed, there were at least 28 different social media lawsuits filed throughout various different U.S. District Courts, with thousands of additional claims being investigated by personal injury lawyers across the U.S.

In response to the motion, the JPML issued a transfer order in October 2022, centralizing the social media addiction lawsuits in the Northern District of California before U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers for coordinated pretrial proceedings.

Since the claims were consolidated in to a Social Media Adolescent Addiction Personal Injury Product Liability Litigation, at least 439 total social media lawsuits have been filed in the MDL as of April 1, 2024.

Lawyers expect the litigation will continue to grow throughout 2024 and 2025 as Judge Rogers and the parties work to prepare a series of early bellwether trials to determine how juries will respond to evidence that is likely to be repeated throughout the trials.

Which Social Media Companies are Named in Lawsuits?

Multiple technology firms and social media giants, including Google, Meta and ByteDance have been named in social media addiction lawsuits linked to mental health and personal injuries.

Meta Entities

  • Meta Platforms, Inc.
  • Instagram,
  • Facebook Payments, Inc.
  • Siculus, Inc.
  • Facebook Operations, LLC

Snap Entities

  • Snap Inc.

TikTok Entities

  • ByteDance, LTD.
  • ByteDance Inc.
  • TikTok, LTD.
  • TikTok, LLC.
  • TikTok, Inc.

Google Entities

  • Google LLC
  • Youtube, LLC

Allegations Raised in Social Media Addictions Lawsuits

Social media addiction lawsuits being filed by hundreds of families raise allegations that the companies designed their platforms in a way that knowingly exploits human psychology to foster addiction, particularly among children and teenagers. These lawsuits argue that the companies:

Designed Features to Maximize Engagement

Social media lawsuits claim the platforms contain features such as infinite scrolling, notifications, and algorithmically curated content feeds are claimed to be intentionally designed to increase user engagement and time spent on the platform, leading to behavioral addiction.

Targeted Young Users

Social media companies specifically target younger audiences who are more susceptible to addiction and less capable of managing their time and impulses on social media platforms.

Failed to Warn About Risks

Lawsuits argue that social media companies did not adequately warn users and their parents about the potential risks of excessive use of their platforms, including mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and lower self-esteem.

Neglected Harmful Effects

Companies ignored or downplayed internal research or external warnings about the harmful effects of social media addiction on children and adolescents.

Insufficient Measures to Protect Young Users

Lawsuits claim that social media companies have not taken sufficient steps to protect young users from harmful content or to help them manage their time on the platforms effectively to prevent addiction.

Wrongful Death and Survival Claims

The legal action includes demands for compensation on behalf of individuals who allegedly suffered fatal consequences linked to social media usage, covering wrongful death and survival benefits.


Social Media Addiction Lawsuit Examples

TikTok Addiction Lawsuit: Tracy Hunt  filed a TikTok addiction lawsuit (PDF) in the U.S. District Court Northern District of California on October 18, 2022, stating her 13-year-old son, identified as D.H. in the complaint, began engaging in addictive and problematic use of the platform that caused him to develop injuries including, social media compulsion, depression, severe anxiety, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, and a reduced inclination or ability to sleep.

Hunt claims that she was not aware of the addictive and mentally harmful effects of the social media platforms, and that the companies have intentionally designed their sites to allow minors to use, become addicted to, and abuse their products without the consent of the users’ parents.

Facebook Addiction Self-Harm Lawsuit: Naomi Charles filed a social media addiction lawsuit (PDF) against Meta Platforms, Inc. in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida Miami Division on June 6, 2022, stating that she became addicted to Meta platforms, causing her to develop mental health conditions.

The complaint states that as a result of her deteriorating mental health caused by the content recommendations displayed through the app, Charles began to have suicidal ideation, ultimately leading her to attempt suicide.

Instagram and Snapchat Addiction Lawsuit: Brittany Doffing filed an Instagram and Snapchat addiction lawsuit (PDF) in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon Medford Division on January 20, 2022, stating her 15-year-old daughter, identified as M.K. in the complaint, developed a social media addiction after starting use of the platforms.

The complaint states M.K. has developed eating disorders and engaged in crash diets followed by binge eating, and been hospitalized several times due to psychiatric episodes that the complaint alleges is due to her addiction to the content tailored to her profile.


Social Media Addiction Lawsuit Settlement Benefits

Individuals who have suffered mental health injuries or injuries to their physical health caused by social media addiction may be entitled to several types of compensation, including;

  • Coverage for medical bills
  • Compensation for emotional pain and suffering
  • Expenses for rehabilitation and therapy
  • Reimbursement for additional costs stemming from social media-related health issues

Medical Bills

In lawsuits concerning addiction to social media, one significant claim category is for the coverage of medical expenses. This includes payments for psychiatric treatment, therapy sessions, counseling, and other necessary mental health services to address issues arising from overuse of social media.

The financial impact of these medical services can be substantial, making it crucial for affected parties to seek legal redress to alleviate the financial strain.

Emotional Pain and Suffering Compensation

The mental health challenges linked to excessive use of social media sites can cause profound emotional suffering for the individual and their loved ones. The goal of compensation for emotional pain and suffering is to mitigate the psychological harm and distress caused by the addictive characteristics of these platforms.

Although it’s difficult to quantify the emotional impact financially, pursuing compensation serves as a form of recognition for the extent of the damage inflicted.

Rehabilitation and Therapy Expenses

The adverse effects of social media addiction often necessitate long-term rehabilitation efforts and therapeutic interventions. Settlements for these injuries aim to cover the costs related to such rehabilitation programs, enabling the individual to overcome their dependency, restore their autonomy, and improve their mental health.


How to Join the Social Media Addiction Lawsuit

If you or a loved one suffer from social media addiction and have developed mental health injuries, or have suffered from self-harm caused by social media, submit information about your potential claim for a lawyer to review.

Social media attorneys provide free claim evaluations and consultations. There are no fees or expenses unless a recovery is obtained in your case.

Social Media Facebook Addiction Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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For more information on whether you qualify for a Social Media Addiction lawsuit, submit information for review by a lawyer to determine if you may be eligible for a settlement.

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