While this isn't completely out of left field as something similar happened a couple of months ago, the San Mateo County Board of Education in California has included Meta in a lawsuit against companies which allegedly contribute to social media addiction among children. Other firms previously named in the lawsuit include Google, TikTok, and Snap.
In a lengthy filing, the education board has described both Facebook and Instagram as public nuisances, claiming that the defendants also engage in practices such as racketeering and gross negligence.
The board has further complained that a lot of its resources are now being spent on children who are negatively affected by excessive screen times and associated psychological issues. This has resulted in a smaller budget to meet other, more traditional, learning and teaching goals. The lawsuit has also pointed to the issue of rising suicide rates among youngsters, emphasizing that there is no analog for this prior to social media being so prevalent.
The lawsuit further states that:
The end goal is to make young people engage with and stay on the platforms as long as possible, because that means they can sell more advertising. [The companies] have learned that this is best accomplished by catering an endless flow of the lowest common denominator of content that is most provocative and toxic that they can get away with.
Meta is yet to comment on the matter but in the previous lawsuit, it touted that it has over 30 tools to increase parental controls and enable parents to supervise how their children are utilizing social media platforms.
Source: Bloomberg (paywall)
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