Education, News

Seattle School Sues Meta, Tiktok & Youtube For Mental Health Crises

Written by Muhammad Muneeb Ur Rehman ·  2 min read >

The excessive use of social media amongst young people has been causing anxiety and depression for a number of years and many have tried different ways to stop this storm. But as time passes the youth are becoming more and more addicted to social media. Considering this, the Public District School In Seattle has sued the big tech companies including Facebook(Meta), Youtube, and TikTok holding them accountable for the depression in the students. 

The lawsuit claims that the tech giants, Alphabet Inc.(Google), Meta Platforms Inc.(Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp), Snap Inc.(Snapchat), and ByteDance Ltd.(TikTok) are responsible for a mental health crisis, according to the complaint filed late Friday in Seattle federal court. The district includes more than 100 schools and serves about 50,000 children.

This lawsuit is the first of its kind in the US brought by a school district, following similar claims filed last year by scores of families, including more than a dozen blaming the tech companies for suicides, the complaint said:

“Defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms. Worse, the content Defendants curate and direct to youth is too often harmful and exploitive”

The companies have a solid defense in the form of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, the 1996 federal statute giving internet platforms broad immunity from claims over harmful content posted by users. The law has protected the big techs in the past and it might be the best weapon for the techs this time as well. A Google spokesman Jose Castaneda told Bloomberg that:

“We have invested heavily in creating safe experiences for children across our platforms and have introduced strong protections and dedicated features to prioritize their well-being. For example, through Family Link, we provide parents with the ability to set reminders, limit screen time and block specific types of content on supervised devices.” 

Meta declined to comment. Representatives of TikTok didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The companies have previously said they’re working to protect their youngest users, including by offering resources on mental health topics and improving safeguards to stop the spread of harmful content.

A Snapchat spokesperson said:

“We will continue working to make sure our platform is safe and to give Snapchatters dealing with mental health issues resources to help them deal with the challenges facing young people today,”

In Friday’s suit, Seattle School District No. 1 is asking a judge to find that the companies have created a public nuisance and to order remedies including monetary damages and funding to prevent and treat excessive use of social media.

The district said it has seen a dramatic increase in suicides and emergency room mental health visits. It cited President Joe Biden’s 2022 State of the Union address in which he implored all to “hold social media platforms accountable for the national experiment they’re conducting on our children for profit.”

“Seattle School District No. 1 brings this action to do just that. Youth in the plaintiff’s community is experiencing the same mental health crisis observed nationally.”

The case is Seattle School District No. 1 v. Meta Platforms Inc., 23-cv-00032, US District Court, Western District of Washington (Seattle).

Rumors suggest that Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen in 2021 showed that the company knew that Instagram negatively affected teenagers by harming their body image and making eating disorders and thoughts of suicide worse. She alleged that the platform prioritized profits over safety and hid its own research from investors and the public.

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Written by Muhammad Muneeb Ur Rehman
Muneeb is a full-time News/Tech writer at He is a passionate follower of the IT progression of Pakistan and the world and wants to educate the people of Pakistan about tech affairs. His favorite part about being a tech writer is tech reviews and giving an honest and clear verdict to his readers. Contact Muneeb on his LinkedIn at: Profile