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Exploring Class Action vs. Mass Tort in Social Media Addiction Cases

While adolescence has always been fraught with issues such as bullying and the abuse of controlled substances, the advent of social media has made it even more difficult. Although teens aren’t the only demographic dealing with social media addiction, they may prove the most psychologically vulnerable. Experts in this field have argued that it is affecting the mental health of an entire generation and that it is now a public health crisis. A wave of social media class action lawsuits is now underway.  

At CaseyGerry, we are fighting to hold social media companies accountable for their users’ social media addiction. We believe these companies should protect their users, and we commit time and resources to hold them responsible. If you or someone you know needs help with Facebook or Instagram addiction, we encourage you to join us in our fight. Please call for a free consultation. 

What is Social Media Addiction? 

In a study published in 2022 at Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, scholars found that “Social media use was positively correlated with more somatic symptoms and more visits to the doctor or health centers for an illness.” 

Teens develop a dependence on dopamine hits driven by likes, direct messages (DMs), text messages, and other aspects of a virtual social life. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter known as a “feel good” chemical. It acts as part of the brain’s reward system. Eating, shopping, gambling, and other pleasurable activities release dopamine–but so do drug use and social media.  

According to The Harvard Business Review, the founders of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other popular sites designed these platforms to encourage excessive use. In 2019, another study found that 40 percent of those aged 18 to 22 considered themselves addicted to social media. For all other age groups, the number was 30 percent. Adolescents are especially vulnerable to the darker side of social media. They may become victims of cyberbullying, cyber-stalking, doxing, and indirect threats to their mental health, including depression and anxiety. In a worst-case scenario, this can lead to suicide.  

Signs of Social Media Addiction 

Suspect social media addiction if any of the following are true: 

  • Excessive amount of time spent on social media. 
  • Loss of interest in social events or spending real time with friends and family. 
  • Neglecting important responsibilities 
  • Severe anxiety if their phone is inaccessible 
  • Lack of interest in former activities 
  • Conflict due to social media 
  • Issues with sleep  
  • Falling grades 
  • Eating disorders  
  • Poor work performance  
  • Texting while driving accidents  

CaseyGerry is fighting to hold social media companies accountable for the harm they have caused. We believe that these companies should protect their users from addiction, and we commit time and resources to hold them answerable for their actions.  

Social Media Addiction Lawsuits 

In October 2023, The New York Times reported that more than three dozen states sued Meta (formerly Facebook) in a class action lawsuit for “knowingly using features on Instagram and Facebook to hook children to its platforms.” The lawsuit cited features such as infinite scroll and persistent alerts to keep young users hooked.  

The fact that so many states are involved is significant. In the past, states also banded together to take on Big Tobacco and Big Pharma. They are not only seeking financial penalties–they want the platforms to stop using certain tech features they maintain hurt young people.  

In addition, public school districts have filed lawsuits. Seattle’s school district claims that “Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok, and Google deliberately addict children to their platforms and serve up inappropriate content that encourages anxiety, depression, eating disorders, cyberbullying, and self-harm.” Further, they argue that social media constitutes a public nuisance.  

Class Action vs. Mass Tort in Social Media Addiction Cases  

In a class action lawsuit, one or more plaintiffs bring a lawsuit on behalf of a larger group, known as the class. Any damages awards, after legal fees, through a settlement or a judgment, are shared between all members of the class. Generally, the lead plaintiffs receive a more significant portion because of the severity of their injuries. 

Tort law allows victims hurt by negligence or wrongful actions to pursue a civil claim. However, torts can affect thousands of people who all sustain damage due to the same wrongful acts. Individual cases are moved to the same court before the same judge, called multi-district litigation (MDL).  

A social media mass tort is more efficient because attorney costs are shared with numerous plaintiffs. The information gleaned from winning cases can help other plaintiffs. Damages in a social media mass tort lawsuit may include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.   

Contact a Social Media Addiction Lawyer

We need your help to make social media companies take responsibility for the harm they are causing. You can join our fight by signing up for a free social media addiction case consultation, sharing your story about Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram addiction, and spreading the word about the dangers of social media addiction.  

At CaseyGerry, our team of social media addiction lawyers believes in individual and corporate responsibility. That is why compassionate and confidential caring for our clients and their causes has been a hallmark of our law firm since 1947. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation if you believe your child is being harmed.

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