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Consumer Law

Judge Rules That Social Media Companies Must Face Child Safety Lawsuits

Meta, ByteDance, Alphabet, and Snap must proceed with a lawsuit alleging their social platforms have adverse mental health effects on children, a federal court ruled on Tuesday. US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers rejected the social media giants’ motion to dismiss the dozens of lawsuits accusing the companies of running platforms “addictive” to kids.

School districts across the US have filed suit against Meta, ByteDance, Alphabet, and Snap, alleging the companies cause physical and emotional harm to children. Meanwhile, 42 states sued Meta last month over claims Facebook and Instagram “profoundly altered the psychological and social realities of a generation of young Americans.” This order addresses the individual suits and “over 140 actions” taken against the companies.

Tuesday’s ruling states that the First Amendment and Section 230, which says online platforms shouldn’t be treated as the publishers of third-party content, don’t shield Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat from all liability in this case. Judge Gonzalez Rogers notes many of the claims laid out by the plaintiffs don’t “constitute free speech or expression,” as they have to do with alleged “defects” on the platforms themselves. That includes having insufficient parental controls, no “robust” age verification systems, and a difficult account deletion process.

Read the source article at The Verge

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