On August 20, 2022, Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, asked the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) to consolidate a number of social media addiction lawsuits filed by plaintiffs who have targeted the company, alleging they have suffered injury as a result of their use of the popular social media platforms. Plaintiffs also allege that the apps are addictive and that the company failed to warn users of the risks of injuries that include suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety and self-harm. They maintain that the social media giant designed its apps to be addictive, thus exploiting adolescents at a time when they are most vulnerable to social media imagery and messaging.
In response, Meta argues that the content that appears on its apps is not “product” to which regular product liability laws would apply; it is likely they will also invoke the Communications Decency Act that establishes that websites cannot be sued for content posted by their users.
Other social media companies such as TikTok argued against consolidation, maintaining the potential breadth of the MDL would overwhelm the federal judiciary.
The first case in the proposed MDL, currently designated as In re: Social Media Adolescent Addiction/Personal Injury Products Liability Litigation was filed on August 1 and has not been assigned to a court; there are currently about 50 cases filed. The hearing to determine the request to consolidate will be heard on September 29, 2022 at the JPML hearing to be held in St. Louis, MO.
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Plaintiffs Request JPML Consolidation for 28 Social Media Addiction Law Suits