A hearing is scheduled for September 29 before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to rule on a motion to consolidate 28 social media addiction lawsuits filed against a number of defendants, including Meta Platforms, Inc., the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, and a number of other social media platforms. The lawsuits accuse the defendants of designing addictive products that are used to manipulate adolescents at a time when they are most vulnerable. Plaintiffs claim that they were never warned about the risks of addiction inherent in the platforms’ use, resulting in a variety of injuries including anxiety, depression, self-harm, eating disorders and suicidal ideation. In the Motion to Transfer, plaintiffs allege:
“The complaints….allege similar claims of product liability, negligence, misrepresentation, fraud, unjust enrichment, breach of warranty, and infliction of emotional distress against Defendants resulting from the design and operation of their two largest products, Facebook and Instagram. Specifically, Plaintiffs allege that Defendants’ social media products are intentionally designed to be addictive and utilize sophisticated algorithms, and other defectively designed and unreasonably dangerous features, to maximize user time and engagement to maximize profits. This design is employed regardless of a user’s age and recognized dangers associated with the use of such features on social media products. From the beginning, Facebook and Instagram have exploited vulnerabilities in human psychology to addict users and maximize user time and engagement.”
In detailing the factual allegations against the defendant social media providers, the plaintiffs state:
“Defendants’ social media products are intentionally designed to be addictive and utilize sophisticated algorithms to manipulate and maximize user time and engagement.”
The filing law firm, Beasley Allen, represents more than 400 additional plaintiffs, all of whom intend to make similar claims against the defendants.
The plaintiffs have requested that the JPML transfer the cases, and any tag-along actions, to Judge Sara L. Ellis of the Northern District of Illinois or Judge Stephen R. Bough of the Western District of Missouri.
Read our other blog on Social Media Addiction below:
Social Media Addiction and the Consequences for Children