If you or a loved one has suffered from mental health issues due to social media usage, you may be wondering if you can sue social media platforms such as Facebook for emotional distress.
Yes, you can sue Facebook for emotional distress.
This article will cover in detail why social media companies like Facebook are facing lawsuits over mental health problems and social media addiction, as well as how you can file a Facebook mental health lawsuit and what compensation you may qualify for in such a lawsuit.
Why Are People Filing Facebook Lawsuits?
Social media is very popular. It is extremely popular amongst young people. However, Facebook and other social media platforms have serious drawbacks.
Addiction to social media is a rising problem in the United States, and it has been discovered that it can have harmful effects upon young users, such as depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.
Due to these effects, which are known, families are filing emotional distress lawsuits and social media addiction lawsuits against Meta as well as other social media companies in order to hold them accountable after their children were harmed by social media.
Experts have been warning us about a youth mental health crisis for years, that being the mental effects that social media has on young people. However, this issue gained attention when a former manager at Facebook exposed internal company documents which showed that Meta was aware of the harm caused to users by Meta platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
One of the leaked documents showed that employees at Meta knew that young people’s mental health was being harmed in that teens were developing body image issues because of Instagram, yet employees at the social media platform ignored these mental health effects.
Because of this, families of young people hurt by Facebook and Instagram have begun filing social media lawsuits in order to hold Meta responsible.
Facebook Mental Health Lawsuit: How Meta Targets Teens
One topic that is sure to come up in a social media addiction lawsuit against Meta is how Meta’s platforms are designed to be addictive for young people, and that Meta knew that its platforms had negative mental health impacts on young people, especially teen girls.
Leaked documents show that over 40 percent of users of Instagram are 22 years old or younger, and that Meta purposefully attempted to draw young users.
“Instagram is well positioned to resonate and win with young people,” an internal Meta slide said, with another post reading, “there is a path to growth if Instagram can continue their trajectory.”
According to the leaked documents, 32 percent of teenage girls said that Instagram gave them body image issues.
According to the leaked documents, Facebook researchers found that Instagram was causing teen mental health issues such as body image issues and eating disorders through negative social comparison, or when users assess their value in comparison to the success, wealth and attractiveness of others.
Facebook researchers concluded that Instagram should reduce young users’ exposure to content involving celebrities, relationships, beauty and fashion. However, an employee, on a message board, questioned this, replying, “isn’t that what IG is mostly about?… the (very photogenic) life of the top 0.1%? Isn’t that the reason why teens are on the platform?”
A former executive also questioned the researchers’ conclusion, stating, “people use Instagram because it’s a competition… that’s the fun part.”
How The Facebook Algorithm Is Designed To Be Addictive
Social media harm lawsuits allege that Facebook is deliberately designed to cause addiction, including social media adolescent addiction. It is designed to be addictive through:
Its User Engagement Design
Facebook has multiple features designed to keep its users permanently online, such as push notifications alerting users of new posts, comments, or birthdays of friends which keep you coming back to the platform, to autoplay features and infinite scrolling which continually provide new content.
The platform also has features which other social media websites don’t have, such as groups, events and its marketplace.
Facebook algorithms also give priority to content it knows will engage you as much as possible – sensational or controversial posts which usually cause strong, emotional reactions.
The platform’s algorithms typically show users perspectives which are similar to their own. This can create echo chambers which don’t expose you to differing beliefs, instead reinforcing confirmation bias.
Echo chambers can appear through advertisements targeted at specific demographics, Facebook Groups which echo your ideologies, and like-minded friends who parrot your views.
These echo chambers can keep users addicted, as validation of your belief system can be extremely addicting. When your belief system is validated, it provides a stimulating emotional high which can keep you coming back to Facebook.
Interacting with like-minded people can foster a sense of community which encourages you to keep contributing to it, and users can develop a fear of missing out on discussions or news updates, leading them to compulsively checking Facebook over and over.
Disinformation can be highly sensationalized, and can validate your emotions, making you feel compelled to keep coming back to Facebook in order to add emotional input to it.
Facebook Knows It’s Endangering Teen Mental Health
As previously covered in this article, Facebook knows it is endangering the mental health of teens, particularly teen girls.
However, while Meta is aware of the harm its platforms are having on teens, they continue to employ their dangerous algorithm.
According to communications unsealed in a lawsuit, Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally shut down or ignored top executives who asked him to take steps to protect teens who use Instagram. For example, Zuckerberg personally vetoed a proposal in 2019 which would have disabled “beauty filters” on Instagram, which are thought to promote unrealistic expectations regarding body image.
In addition, an executive emailed Zuckerberg showing him external and internal research which suggested the services of the company were negatively impacting the well-being of people, proposing that more engineers be hired to create well-being tools which would respond to loneliness, social comparison and addiction. However, Susan Li, chief financial officer of Meta, responded for Zuckerberg, stating that the company’s leadership team had declined to fund the initiative.
Negative Symptoms Of Social Media Addiction
Social media addiction can have many negative effects, such as:
Neglect Of Real-World Obligations
People can prioritize social media relationships over real-life relationships and responsibilities. Compulsively needing to constantly check social media and respond to it can distract people from daily conversations and activities.
Addiction to social media has been demonstrated to significantly decrease academic achievement.
People end up prioritizing virtual relationships over real-life relationships, resulting in stunted social skills, loss of friendships and increased isolation.
Social media can cause young people to feel inadequate, undermining self-confidence and leading to isolation.
Body Image Problems
Young people often perceive those on social media as more attractive than they are, and this can lead to eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.
This can be the result of sleep deprivation caused by social media addiction, as well as isolation and pressure to meet impossible standards.
Increased time which is spent online has been linked with non-suicidal injury in young people. Social media contains communities and posts promoting self-harm.
Social media can cause suicide in young people due to:
- Sleep deprivation
- Exposure to suicide-related content
- False identity
- Negative social comparison
- Unmet needs regarding a connection with others
Worsening Or Emergence Of Mood Disorders
Social media addiction can cause mood disorders to appear or be exacerbated.
Young people often fill a void created by inadequate confidence with social media, creating a virtual identity and living in a virtual space. This increases depression, isolation and loneliness. Studies have found that increased reliance on social media correlated with a decreased satisfaction with one’s life.
Anxiety can result from increased social pressure and competition, sleep deprivations and one’s real-life obligations suffering from social media addiction.
Every positive response and “like” on social media causes a release of dopamine, creating dopamine tolerance which can lead to users turning to alcohol or drugs to get the dopamine rush that social media doesn’t produce anymore.
Problematic use of social media has been linked with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Do I Qualify For A Lawsuit?
Teens or children born after 2000 which have been harmed by Meta’s platforms may qualify to file Meta harm lawsuits. Examples of harm which can be caused by social media addiction include:
- Suicide or attempted suicide
- Sleep disorders
- Eating disorders
Some might argue that teens would experience these issues even without social media. However, it is continued to be shown by studies that social media contributes to fear of missing out, poor body image, low self-esteem and emotional and mental health challenges which can worsen mental states.
Call us today for a free consultation to learn more regarding if you qualify to file a Facebook lawsuit.
What Can I Receive Compensation For?
In Meta lawsuits, a plaintiff may qualify to receive compensation for many things, including:
Medical Treatments For Physical Or Mental Health Issues
You may qualify for financial compensation for medical treatments for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.
However, social media doesn’t just negatively impact mental health. It can negatively impact physical health as well.
You may qualify for financial compensation for treatment of physical health issues such as an inactive lifestyle, sleep deprivation, or musculoskeletal problems such as thumb and wrist pain, upper back and neck pain, or eyestrain issues.
Costs Of Therapy For Emotional Or Mental Disorders
You may qualify for compensation for the cost of therapy for emotional or mental disorders such as eating disorders, anxiety or depression.
Pain And Suffering
Nadrich & Cohen has been helping people recover compensation for pain and suffering since 1990. We know how to accurately place a value on your pain and suffering and make sure you are adequately compensated for it.
Recovery And Treatment Costs
We can help you recover compensation for any other costs related to your recovery and treatment of any mental or physical ailments caused by Meta’s platforms.
If you have lost income due to injuries or disorders caused by Meta’s platforms, we can help you recover compensation for this income. For example, if you have had to take time off from work to attend treatments for ailments caused by social media use, we can help you recover the income you didn’t earn because you took time off from work.
Punitive damages are intended to punish defendants for reckless or intentional conduct and deter others from behaving in a similar manner in the future.
Documents have shown that Meta knew about the harm its platforms were causing young people yet did nothing about it. We will seek punitive damages on your behalf to maximize your financial recovery and punish Meta for this brazen conduct.
Contact A Facebook Harm Lawyer Today
If you or a loved one has been harmed by Facebook or Instagram, the harm you have suffered is an injury, whether it be a physical injury or a mental injury.
We have been helping injury victims recover financial compensation for their injuries since 1990. We have recovered over $400,000,000 on behalf of injury victims.
Our vast experience and expertise will allow us to recover the maximum amount of financial compensation for you in a social media harm lawsuit.
We will not charge you a fee until and unless we obtain financial compensation on your behalf in a lawsuit against Meta. We will file an individual lawsuit on your behalf rather than a social media class action lawsuit as you’ll be able to obtain more compensation through an individual lawsuit.
Call us today for a free consultation, text us from this page or fill out the free case evaluation form on this page in order to discuss filing a social media harm lawsuit against Meta.