SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 4 February 2023, Saturday |

Seattle public schools blame tech giants for social media harm in lawsuit

The public school system in Seattle launched a lawsuit against Big Tech, alleging that the corporations were directly to blame for students’ escalating mental health crises and had a negative impact on the schools’ capacity to fulfill their educational mandate.

The U.S. District Court received a complaint on Friday accusing Alphabet Inc, Meta Platforms Inc, Snap Inc, and TikTok owner ByteDance of intentionally designing their products to draw young people to their platforms and contributing to a mental health crisis.

In emailed statements to Reuters, Google said it has invested heavily in creating safe experiences for children across its platforms and has introduced “strong protections and dedicated features to prioritize their well being,” while Snap said it works closely with many mental health organizations to provide in-app tools and resources for users and that the well-being of its community is its top priority.

Meta Platforms and TikTok did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. In the past, the companies have said they aim to create an enjoyable experience for users and exclude harmful content and invest in moderation and content controls.

In emailed statements to Reuters, Google said it has invested heavily in creating safe experiences for children across its platforms and has introduced “strong protections and dedicated features to prioritize their well being,” while Snap said it works closely with many mental health organizations to provide in-app tools and resources for users and that the well-being of its community is its top priority.

Meta Platforms and TikTok did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment. In the past, the companies have said they aim to create an enjoyable experience for users and exclude harmful content and invest in moderation and content controls.

In 2021, U.S. lawmakers accused Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg of pushing for higher profits at the expense of children’s mental health following testimony by whistleblower Frances Haugen. Facebook has consistently said it disagrees with Haugen’s characterization that the company failed to protect teen girls on Instagram.

“The argument that we deliberately push content that makes people angry for profit is deeply illogical,” he posted on his Facebook page in response. “We make money from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t want their ads next to harmful or angry content. And I don’t know any tech company that sets out to build products that make people angry or depressed.”

    Source:
  • Reuters