TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat are purposefully designed to be addictive platforms which have “fastidiously cultivated” a mental health crisis amongst U.S. students, a Silicon Valley school board alleged in a lawsuit.
The San Mateo County superintendent and faculty board also alleges within the lawsuit filed Monday that the tech firms were involved in activities corresponding to negligence, racketeering, public nuisance and violation of unfair competition law. A Seattle school district filed the same lawsuit against the identical three firms in January.
TikTok is amongst probably the most incessantly downloaded social media apps worldwide, in addition to in the USA — specifically amongst young users. (CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
“Powerful corporations who wield unmatched, highly concentrated technology in pursuit of profit are knowingly creating this unprecedented mental health crisis,” the lawsuit states. “YouTube, Snap, TikTok and their related firms have fastidiously cultivated the crisis, which is a feature—not a bug—of their social media products.”
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The social media platforms argued that they’ve tools in place to guard children.
“We have now an external group of kid development experts that help advise us on tips on how to construct age-appropriate experience and protect kids on YouTube,” a Google spokesperson told Fox News.
TikTok declined to comment on the litigation though a spokesperson said the corporate “prioritizes the protection and well-being of teens.”
TikTok has been criticized by U.S. lawmakers who claim the platform might be used as a propoganda tool. (Photo by Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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And a Snap spokesperson said that though the app is primarily used as a messaging platform, the corporate works “closely with leading mental health organizations to offer in-app tools for Snapchatters and resources to assist support each themselves and their friends.”
The suit alleges that the social media giants’ algorithms are purposefully delivering harmful content to youth, leaving school staff to handle the scholars’ issues attributable to the platforms.
“Nobody gets off the hook for the health and well-being of our young people,” San Mateo Superintendent of Schools Nancy Magee said in an area interview. “And once we attempt to work with social media firms to remove content that might be directly harming a toddler, it’s extremely difficult.”
The lawsuit seeks to have the tech firms’ actions declared a public nuisance and for the court to stop them from continuing that behavior. It also demands that the defendants contribute to a public education fund and pay compensatory and punitive damages.
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Meta, the San Mateo County-based parent company of Facebook and Instagram, was not named within the lawsuit. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
The suit also mentions President Biden’s comments during his State of the Union address calling out social media firms “for the experiment they’re running on our youngsters for profit.”
As TikTok, YouTube and Snapchat grew in popularity between 2011 and 2021, mental health issues amongst youth corresponding to depression and suicidal thoughts have also increased, based on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study cited within the lawsuit.
The lawsuit excludes Facebook and Instagram, whose parent company Meta is predicated in San Mateo County. Internal documents show that Facebook employees knew that Instagram had toxic effects on young women and girls, based on a 2021 Wall Street Journal investigation.
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Magee didn’t return a request for comment.
Jon Michael Raasch is an associate producer/author with Fox News Digital Originals.