Meta/Facebook/Instagram Snapchat YouTube TikTok Social Media Addiction Lawsuit

Lawsuit filed in September 2022 accuses Instagram/Meta/Facebook of detrimental profiteering off teens’ deep vulnerabilities and causing life-threatening injuries from Instagram use

Lieff Cabraser and co-counsel have filed lawsuits on behalf of parents and their minor children who use social media alleging that the Defendants’ platforms are designed to hook young users in a manner that endangers their health and welfare, leading them to suffer from severe eating disorders such as anorexia.

In November 2022, Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers appointed Lieff Cabraser partner Lexi J. Hazam as Co-Lead Counsel for plaintiffs in the nationwide multi-district litigation (“MDL”) against major social media platforms including Facebook/Instagram (owned by Meta), TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube (owned by Google), alleging the platforms cause addiction and mental health problems in adolescents, including body image issues, anxiety, suicidality, depression, and eating disorders, due to the dangerous, defective, and profit-driven design of algorithmic recommendations, and inadequate parental controls and age verification.

With regard to Lieff Cabraser’s client’s initial lawsuit against Meta, Ms. Hazam noted, “Instagram has profited off of young people’s vulnerabilities for long enough. The Instagram platform is insidiously designed to exploit the developing brains and insecurities of young users to keep them ‘engaged’ and on the service for as often and as long as possible, harming their mental and physical health. The death rate for anorexia is higher than for all other causes of death for adolescent females.”

As detailed in the Amended Master Complaint, “[t]his lawsuit follows on a growing body of scientific research, including Defendants’ own internal (previously concealed) studies, that draws a direct line between Defendants’ conscious, intentional design choices and the youth mental health crisis gripping our nation.”

As also noted in that complaint, the “resulting ubiquity of Defendants’ products in the lives and palms of our kids, and the ensuing harm to them, is hard to overstate. Today, over a third of 13- to 17-year-old kids report using one of Defendants’ apps ‘almost constantly’ and admit this is ‘too much.’ Yet more than half of these kids report that they would struggle to cut back on their social media use. Instead of feeding coins into machines, kids are feeding Defendants’ platforms with an endless supply of attention, time, and data.”

Near the end of last year, the MDL Court rejected the Social Media Companies’ attempt to dismiss the claims against them by arguing that the companies were immune from liability under Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act and the First Amendment, among other arguments. The Judge disagreed with Defendants, rejecting Defendants’ broad reading of immunity under Section 230 and the First Amendment, and allowed the case to proceed to discovery (i.e., the phase of the case where the Parties learn new information from each other that was not previously known). Judge Gonzalez Rogers rejected Defendants’ attempt to immediately appeal the Court’s Section 230 and First Amendment rulings. The litigation is ongoing and the first trial is expected in October 2025.

Recognized National Child Advocacy Lawyers at Lieff Cabraser

Lieff Cabraser has litigated to protect and advance the rights of internet users, especially child and young adult internet users, for decades, including in cases aimed at curtailing the illegal and deceptive acquisition and monetization of young user’s deeply private and personal identity and location information as well as cases seeking to eradicate sex trafficking and related degradations across multiple social media platforms. Our civil rights and privacy cases have led to judgments and settlements for our clients valued at over $8 billion as well as significant and enduring changes to law and corporate policy for the benefit of all.

Contact us today about your child’s Instagram issues

If you or your child is a social media user and has reported or experienced any of these negative reactions, disorders, or behavior spiraling you or they believe to be related to social media use, we urge you to use the form on this page to contact a children’s rights lawyer at Lieff Cabraser today about your case and possible recovery.

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All information you provide will be kept in the strictest confidence, and will help us hold the social media giants accountable for their dangerous and destructive predations on American youth.

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