Social Media Addiction and Injuries Lawsuits and Settlements

The Social Media Lawsuits claim that Meta Platforms, Inc. (Meta) and its social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram, make billions of dollars each year by exploiting its most vulnerable users—children. The lawsuits claim the same against ByteDance (TikTok), Google (YouTube) and Snap (Snapchat).

The lawsuits allege these companies knowingly built social media platforms using algorithms specifically designed to lure young people into a destructive addiction. Excessive exposure to the platforms has led kids and young adults to develop eating disorders, self-harm, and suicidal ideation.

If you or your minor child has suffered injuries resulting from harmfully addictive social media platforms, please contact our office today for a free case review: (800) 277-1193 or complete the Case Evaluation Form below.

News Updates for Social Media Addiction Lawsuits

May 2024

The total number of pending cases in the social media class action reached 455 by May 1, 2024.

April 2024

The number of pending cases in the social media addiction class action MDL continues to rise. As of April 1, 2024, the number had reached 439 pending cases.

March 2024

During a hearing in San Francisco, U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter H. Kang talked about concerns raised by the plaintiffs’ lawyers. They were upset because key executives were not included in the initial list of witnesses for the social media MDL. The plaintiffs’ lawyers were especially critical of not including well-known executives like Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel.

Judge Kang emphasized the need for timely and complete disclosures. He warned against delaying or hiding important information. He also told both sides not to add new witnesses at the last minute, explaining that this could affect their testimony.

February 2024

As of February 2, 2024, the number of current pending cases in the Social Media Addiction MDL has risen to 399. Six new cases were added in January 2024.

November 2023

On November 14, 2023, in its Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss, the Court found that Section 230 and the First Amendment do not bar plaintiffs’ negligence per se claim.

April 2023

On April 14, 2023, Plaintiffs filed the Amended Master Complaint in the Social Media Addiction MDL.

December 2022

On December 15, 2022, in Case Management Order 3, the Court issued the following deadlines in the social media addiction lawsuits:

  • February 14, 2023: Master complaint(s) must be filed, identifying 5-6 of Plaintiffs’ strongest claims.
  • February 28, 2023: By this date, parties must file a joint proposed short form complaint and implementation order.
  • April 4, 2023: Plaintiffs must file the short form complaint.
  • April 17, 2023: Defendants file their first motion to dismiss on the master complaint(s).
  • June 1, 2023: Plaintiffs file opposition(s) to the motion to dismiss.
  • June 30, 2023: Defendants file their reply brief(s).

Parties agreed to a Direct Filing Order, meaning plaintiffs can file their complaints directly in the MDL court, enabling them to get around the delays that accompany filing in their home jurisdiction and then transferring the case to the MDL.

November 2022

On November 10, 2022, the U.S. District Court Northern District of California issued Case Management Order No. 1, appointing Leadership for Plainitffs. Levin Papantonio Rafferty Attorney Emmie Paulos was appointed as a member of the Plaintiffs Steering Committee for the Social Media Adolescent Addiction/Personal Injury Products Liability Litigation (MDL No. 3047).

October 2022

On October 6, 2022, the Judicial Panel on Multistrict Litigation (JPML) entered its Transfer Order to centralize social media addiction personal injury lawsuits in the Northern District of California to facilitate the fair and efficient management of this legal matter (IN RE: SOCIAL MEDIA ADOLESCENT ADDICTION/PERSONAL INJURY PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION MDL No. 3047).

These cases revolve around common factual inquiries concerning accusations that the defendants’ social media platforms are flawed due to their intention to prolong user screen time, potentially fostering addictive habits among teenagers. Plaintiffs assert that the defendants were aware of this issue but neglected to caution the public about the harmful effects their platforms could have on minors.

The JPML assigned this complex litigation to Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers—”an experienced transferee judge who presides over a pending action.”

Who Can File a Social Media Addiction and Injuries Lawsuit?

Our lawyers are investigating cases on behalf of kids, parents, and young adults who:

  • Used one or more of these platforms (Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, SnapChat and/or Instagram)
  • Commonly uses or has used the platforms more than 3 hours per day
  • Started using the platforms before the age of 18
  • Suffered one or more of the following injuries or conditions related to their use of the platforms before the age of 21: eating disorders; body dysmorphia; self-harm; suicidal ideation; suicide attempt; and/or suicide.
  • Received treatment or counseling for the injury or condition

If you or your underage child has experienced injuries due to the harmful, addictive nature of social media platforms, we urge you to reach out to our office promptly for a free case assessment. You can call us at (800) 277-1193 or fill out the Case Evaluation Form provided below.

Our Lawyers Can Help You in Your Social Media Addiction Lawsuit

Since 1955, we have represented individuals who suffer harm from giant corporations like Meta. You will see our firm’s attorneys listed in The National Trial Lawyers Hall of Fame and the Best Lawyers in America. We also launched Mass Torts Made Perfect, an annual conference that attracts more than 1,500 attorneys who gather to learn from our lawyers how we successfully handle these complex cases.

What Do We Know About the Meta Social Media Lawsuits?

On June 7, 2022, attorneys for Jessica Guerrero (on behalf of minor plaintiff S.G.) filed a lawsuit against Defendants Meta Platforms, Inc., Facebook Holdings, LLC, Facebook Operations, LLC, Facebook Payments, Inc., Facebook Technologies, LLC, Instagram, LLC, and Siculus, Inc., in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware (Guerrero v. Meta Platforms, Inc., et al).

The minor, S.G., is a 17-year-old girl who began engaging in “addictive and problematic use” of the Meta social media platforms shortly after registering as a user on these platforms. S.G.’s alleged addiction-related injuries include:

  • Attempted suicide
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Eating disorder(s)
  • Severe anxiety
  • Reduced inclination or ability to sleep

A Business Model That Thrives on Harming American Youth

Nine out of ten teens use Facebook and/or Instagram, spending an average of three hours daily on the platforms. This exposure wields long-lasting negative impacts on teens’ still-developing brains and puts their mental health at risk.

How Facebook and Instagram Work

The social media platforms’ user interfaces sort content to display at the top that is irresistible to young users. This content builds a “false reality” related to beauty, success, and wealth, causing teens to experience negative physical or social comparison. The platforms’ algorithms also promote harmful “controversial, disturbing, negative, and/or emotionally charged” content, the Guerrero lawsuit alleges.

How the Social Medial Platforms Harm Teens

According to the lawsuit, research has shown that “…social media facilitates cyberbullying, contributes to obesity and eating disorders, instigates sleep deprivation to achieve around-the-clock platform engagement, encourages children to negatively compare themselves to others and develop a broad discontentment for life, and has been connected to depression, anxiety, self-harm, and ultimately suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and completed suicide.”

How Meta Benefits From These Harms

Despite knowing of these detrimental effects, Meta constructs its business models around maximizing user engagement, affecting an egregious breach of the public trust.

Advertising on Meta social media platforms generated $69.7 billion for the company in 2019. These revenues are made possible through the exploitation of users. Meta collects and analyzes data on its users so advertisers can conduct micro-target advertising. Because more screen time yields more data and more money for Meta, the company deploys complex algorithms and artificial intelligence “to exploit human psychology,” the lawsuit alleges.

Whistleblower Testifies That Facebook and Instagram Puts Profits Before People

On October 4, 2021, former Facebook employee Frances Haugen appeared before the U.S. Senate to testify that Facebook leadership makes choices that harm children. Haugen stated that during her time at Facebook, decision-makers “repeatedly encountered conflicts between its own profits and our safety” and “consistently resolved those conflicts in favor of its own profits.

The whistleblower underscored that by cherry-picking what information billions of users encounter, Meta, can and does control people’s “deepest thoughts, feelings, and behaviors” and is effectively “shaping their perception of reality.”

Social Media Encourages Violence, Self-Hate, and Self-Harm

Besides cranking up the volume on existing, violence-inducing extremism, division, and polarization, Haugen said that the Facebook machine optimizes profits by cultivating self-harm and self-hate, with vulnerable groups, like teenage girls being the most likely victims. According to Haugen, the social media company’s internal research has repeatedly confirmed these consequences.

In short, “Facebook became a $1 trillion company by paying for its profits with our safety, including the safety of our children,” Haugen said.

Timeline of Events Pertinent to Meta Social Media Lawsuits

  • July 29, 2004: Meta was originally incorporated in Delaware as “The Facebook, Inc.”
  • September 20, 2005: The social media company changed its name to “Facebook, Inc.”
  • September 2021: The Wall Street Journal begins publishing articles based on internal Facebook documents revealing, among other things, how Instagram exacerbated teen girls’ negative self-image.
  • October 4, 2021: Former Facebook employee Frances Haugen appeared before the U.S. Senate to testify that Facebook leadership was aware of the harmful effects its social media platforms have on youth and society.
  • October 22, 2021: Other news outlets begin publishing articles based on The Facebook Papers, documents provided by lawyers of Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen.
  • October 28, 2021: The company assumed its current name of “Meta.”
  • June 7, 2022: Attorneys for Jessica Guerrero file a personal injury lawsuit against Meta.
  • October 6, 2022: The Judicial Panel on Multistrict Litigation (JPML) centralized social media addiction personal injury lawsuits in the Northern District of California (IN RE: SOCIAL MEDIA ADOLESCENT ADDICTION/PERSONAL INJURY PRODUCTS LIABILITY LITIGATION MDL No. 3047).

What Are the Main Legal Issues Involving the Meta Social Media Lawsuits?

The Plaintiff in the Guerrero case argues the following:

Design Defect

Meta’s defective design of its social media products is not safe for users and is particularly harmful to minors. It is technologically and economically feasible for the company to adjust this design to lower the harm to users.

Failure to Warn

The Defendants failed to adequately warn minor users and their parents of the mental, physical, and emotional dangers of using Meta social media platforms.

Manufacturing Defect

Facebook and Instagram developers deviated from the platforms’ design, presenting a risk of serious injury or death, and causing the platforms to perform less safely than intended by their original design.

Negligence

Meta knew or should have known that its social media products harm a significant percentage of its minor users, and yet the company did not redesign its products to reduce the dangers of its platforms.

Meta prioritized profit over safety by implementing a business model based on product features designed to increase the frequency and duration of users’ engagement, despite knowing of their addictive nature and the significant harm to teens and other users.

Fraud

The Defendants marketed and promoted the social media products as being safe, despite knowing of the risks these products posed to users’ mental and physical health. The Defendants concealed this information from the public.

Injuries & Side Effects of Meta’s Defective and Addictive Social Media Algorithms

Meta’s research shows that Facebook’s and Instagram’s design, marketing, advertising, and promotion produce multiple harmful effects, including:

  • Social media addiction
  • Depression
  • Body dysmorphia
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Insomnia
  • Eating disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Death by suicide
  • Death by eating disorder
  • Lack of focus
  • ADHD
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Loss of vision
  • Eye strain
  • Other harmful effects

Rather than warn users of these potential harms, the Defendants refined their platforms to increase addiction and exposure to these harms.

What Compensation Could You Recover in a Meta Social Media Lawsuit?

The amounts that claimants can receive in Meta Social Media verdicts or settlements depend on a wide range of factors, including the type and extent of their injuries. Generally, this type of action could involve several types of recoverable damages, including (but not limited to):

  • Past and future medical treatment and expenses
  • Past and future lost income
  • Past and future pain and suffering from injuries, as well as treatment and recovery
  • Past and future diminished enjoyment of life
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Possible punitive damages

Let Our Social Media Addiction and Injury Lawyers Work for a Settlement on Your Behalf

Levin Papantonio Rafferty attorneys will work to recover the maximum financial compensation for losses stemming from Meta’s and other defective social media platforms’ designs and marketing practices.

If you or your minor child have been harmed by the addictive features of social media platforms, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our office for a no-cost review of your case. Contact us today at (800) 277-1193 or fill out the Case Evaluation Form provided for your convenience.