US school district sues social media firms for wreaking mental health crisis
A public school district in the US city of Seattle has sued several social media giants, including Snap, Facebook and YouTube, for allegedly wreaking a mental health crisis among its student body.
The lawsuit said that the companies' algorithms were recommending pro-eating disorder content.
The district was seeking punitive damages and for the tech companies to stop causing a public nuisance.
The lawsuit took aim at the recommendations and the content promoted through the algorithm.
"Plaintiff is not alleging Defendants are liable for what third-parties have said on Defendants’ platforms but, rather, for Defendants’ own conduct," the lawsuit said. "Defendants affirmatively recommend and promote harmful content to youth, such as pro-anorexia and eating disorder content."
The lawsuit also said that mental health issues – such as anxiety and depression – have ballooned from 2009-2019 by 30%.
Students in Seattle Public Schools students who reported feeling "so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row" that they stopped doing some typical activities.
Google, which owns You Tube, provided a statement, which calimed, "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."