TikTok, Facebook and YouTube sued by New York for youth health problems

New York Mayor Eric Adams said Wednesday that his administration has filed a lawsuit against the parent companies of TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube, alleging that their services are harmful to the mental health of young adults and children in the largest city in the United States.

New York City along with plaintiffs, including the school district and health care organizations, filed the lawsuit in the Los Angeles County branch of the California Superior Court over the companies’ ties to the area, the lawyers wrote in the statement.

The prosecution claims this Half, HurriedByteDance and Google (whose parent company is Alphabet) knowingly “designed, developed, produced, operated, promoted, distributed, and marketed their platforms to attract, capture, and addict youth, with minimal parental supervision.”

The plaintiffs allege that the technology companies violated several city laws related to public nuisance and gross negligence through the design and marketing of their addictive products. They say New York school districts and various health and social services have been severely affected by children experiencing negative mental health consequences resulting from the use of popular social media apps.

“Over the past decade, we have seen how addictive and overwhelming the online world can be, exposing our children to a continuous stream of harmful content and fueling the national mental health crisis among our youth,” Adams said in a statement. “Today, we are taking bold action on behalf of millions of New Yorkers to hold these companies accountable for their role in this crisis, and we are building on our work to address this public health danger. This lawsuit and this 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.”

A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement that the company offers “industry-leading protections” for teens, including parental controls and age-restricting features.

“We regularly collaborate with experts to understand emerging best practices and will continue to work to keep our community safe by addressing industry-wide challenges,” the spokesperson said.

A Google representative said the allegations are “simply not true.”

“Providing young people with a safer and healthier online experience has always been at the heart of our work,” Google said. “In collaboration with youth, mental health and parenting experts, we have created services and policies to provide young people with age-appropriate experiences and robust controls for parents.”

Meta said it has “spent a decade working on these issues” and wants “teens to have safe, age-appropriate experiences online, and we have over 30 tools and features to support them and their parents.”

A Snap spokesperson said that “Snapchat was intentionally designed to be different from traditional social media,” focusing on facilitating conversations with close friends.

“Snapchat opens directly to a camera — rather than a content feed that encourages passive scrolling — and has no traditional public likes or comments,” the Snap spokesperson said. “While we will always have more work to do, we are confident in the role Snapchat plays in helping close friends feel connected, happy and prepared as they navigate the many challenges of adolescence.”

The New York lawsuit echoes similar allegations made against Meta, Snap, TikTok and Alphabet in litigation filed in 2022 in the Northern District of California. Several school districts and individuals claim that the company’s products “are defective because they are designed to maximize screen time” and that they have resulted in various emotional and physical harm, including death.

Social media companies have been criticized by lawmakers who are pushing multiple bills like the Kids Online Safety Act, or KOSA, as part of a broader call for regulation. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and Snap CEO Evan Spiegel attended a hearing at the Senate Judiciary in late January and faced tough questions from a bipartisan group of lawmakers about their alleged negligence in the protection of children.

Meanwhile, a coalition of more than 40 attorneys general filed a joint federal lawsuit against Meta alleging that its products are addictive and harm mental health.

CLOCK: Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg apologizes to parents during Senate online hearing on child safety

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *