Social Media Lawyer
Social media platforms such as Meta, Snapchat, and TikTok are causing severe harm to an entire generation of young adults. The companies have the technology to protect their users but consistently choose profit over safety. A social media lawyer can recover compensation for victims and hold social media platforms accountable.
What You’ll Learn
- What is a social media lawyer?
- When do you need a social media lawyer?
- Are social media platforms immune to liability?
- Which social media platforms are being sued?
- On what grounds can social media platforms be sued?
- What types of compensation are available in a social media lawsuit?
- How can a social media lawyer help me?
Social media platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have consistently demonstrated that they are more concerned with profits than safety. The Social Media Victims Law Center is on a mission to force social media companies to do the right thing and provide safe platforms for young users.
These companies will prioritize safety only if their dangerous algorithms become more expensive than safe alternatives. By forcing social media companies to compensate the young people and families they have harmed, our social media lawyers send a message to these companies in the only language they understand: the language of dollars and cents.
What is a social media lawyer?
A social media lawyer represents parents, teens, and adults who have experienced harm as a result of social media use. Our legal team at the Social Media Victims Law Center also provides parents and young people with education, referrals, and mental health resources.
When do you need a social media lawyer?
The best time to contact a social media lawyer is as soon as you suspect your child may be suffering negative effects from social media. You may notice changes in your child’s personality, grades, and mental health, including the following:
In many cases, the symptoms you can readily detect signify deeper problems. If you see these signs and suspect social media is the cause, contact a social media lawyer as soon as possible.
It takes only one negative interaction on social media to jeopardize your teen’s life or well-being. If your best efforts at curtailing your child’s social media use have been unsuccessful, your child may be addicted to social media.
If your child experiences any of the following effects, contact a social media lawyer immediately:
- Drugs – Your child purchases drugs through social media or becomes addicted to drugs.
- Suicide – Your child attempts or commits suicide.
- Self-harm – Your child practices self-mutilation.
- Eating disorders – Your child becomes preoccupied with body image and engages in problematic eating behaviors, such as starvation or purging.
- Sexual abuse – Your child is sexually abused, exploited, or trafficked online.
It is never too early to enlist the help of a qualified attorney.
Are social media platforms immune to liability?
Social media platforms have long hidden behind Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, claiming the 1996 law gives them immunity. In 1996, social media as we know it today did not exist.
Why was Section 230 passed?
Before Section 230 was passed, online publishers and message boards that allowed the public to post commentary could not monitor the content posted by other users without fear of being sued. If they moderated their content and failed to catch just one comment, they were vulnerable to lawsuits.
Their solution was to take a hands-off approach and avoid moderating, resulting in harmful content being published online without curtailment. Section 230 gave publishers immunity from lawsuits for third-party content, even if the platforms moderated it. The purpose was to allow them to police the content without the fear of being sued.
How has Section 230 been misconstrued?
The intention of Section 230 was to clean up the internet, but social media platforms today have deliberately misconstrued Section 230 as a license to promote the exact content the lawmakers intended to eliminate.
While Section 230 does protect social media companies from liability for what users post, it does not give them the freedom to promote the worst content in any way they please.
Our cases against the social media companies do not attempt to hold them accountable for the content users post. Rather, we are holding social media companies accountable for their own actions with regard to their use of the content.
Which social media platforms are being sued?
The number of social media platforms grows almost daily, and plaintiffs are filing new cases against these companies with increasing frequency. If your child has been harmed on any social media platform, whether or not it is specifically mentioned here, contact a social media attorney as soon as possible.
Meta is the owner of Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. Through addictive algorithms and the promotion of harmful content, Facebook and Instagram lure young users into staying on their platforms for unhealthy lengths of time and continually checking their social media throughout the day.
The Social Media Victims Law Center is currently involved in several lawsuits against Meta, including wrongful death lawsuits, for the following:
- Eating disorders with permanent physical damage
- Sexual exploitation
- Severe psychological harm
- The purchase of drugs laced with fentanyl that caused fatal overdoses
Meta’s harmful practices have garnered the attention of Congress, which has grilled top executives, including Mark Zuckerberg.
TikTok is an incredibly addictive platform that serves users with numerous types of harmful content, including the dangerous “blackout challenge.” This dangerous practice of encouraging users to strangle themselves until they lose consciousness continues to cause the preventable deaths of young children.
The Social Media Victims Law Center represents more than 10 families of children who died while attempting the blackout challenge in TikTok lawsuits. Plaintiffs include the families of an 8-year-old girl, a 9-year-old girl, and a 12-year-old boy.
We also represent the parents of a 12-year-old girl who developed an eating disorder that led to hospitalization and permanent damage to her reproductive organs after TikTok detected her interest in exercise and repeatedly served her videos promoting anorexia.
According to founder Matthew Bergman, this harm is “not an accident, not a coincidence, but a direct result of the decision that TikTok made to design a product that kept kids online, kept kids engaged, no matter what they were looking at, whether it was dangerous, or whether it was safe, whether it was harmful, whether it was hurtful, whether it made children feel better about themselves or feel worse.”
Snapchat is a popular social media platform among youth that is well-known for its disappearing messages, a feature that makes the platform appealing to sexual predators.
Our law firm represents parents whose children have suffered the following harm in Snapchat lawsuits:
- Sexual abuse
- Suicide, including cases posted live on Snapchat
- Exposure to sexually explicit material through disappearing messages
- Connections with drugs that were laced with fentanyl, resulting in overdose deaths
- Development of a negative body image and harmful eating behaviors
According to Matthew Bergman, the harm caused by Snapchat is the “direct and understandable and foreseeable result of design decisions that Snapchat made.”
We are currently involved in a case against Discord in which a sexual predator contacted a young girl on Roblox, a children’s gaming app, and encouraged the girl to move to Discord, where she was exploited by several men.
On what grounds can social media platforms be sued?
The lawsuits against social media companies are based on the doctrines of negligence and strict liability.
Negligence is a breach of a duty of care that results in harm. The social media platforms have violated their duty of care, including:
- Verify users are 13 years old or older, in accordance with federal law
- Warn parents and users about the risks of social media use
- Provide effective parental controls
- Prevent its algorithms from serving harmful content to young people
- Provide protective measures to prevent addiction
- Prevent harmful content from reaching teens and other vulnerable users
- Prevent drug sales and other illegal transactions on their platforms
Strict liability is a legal doctrine that holds product manufacturers liable for producing harmful products and failing to warn consumers of the risks. Social media platforms are built and programmed to promote negative and harmful content and use addictive algorithms to keep users online as long as possible.
Although positive content exists on social media platforms, their algorithms are designed to promote negative, harmful content because it gets more engagement and increases profits.
The results have been profitable for the companies but detrimental to the public, especially young people, who have suffered from:
- Increased depression and anxiety
- Distorted body image and eating disorders
- Increased loneliness and social isolation
- Low self-esteem
- Risky behavior
- Social media addiction
- Self-harm and suicide ideation
- Drug addiction
The companies are strictly liable for this design defect.
The platforms are aware of the harmful effects of excessive use of their products, but they have failed to warn the public and strategically promote content that encourages and teaches young people to thwart parental intervention.
What types of compensation are available in a social media lawsuit?
A social media lawsuit is a means to make social media platforms compensate families and children for harm. It is not uncommon for families to incur significant debt and even quit their jobs in an effort to get their children treatment for the mental health disorders, drug addiction, and physical injury brought on by social media use.
Social media lawsuits can help families recoup these losses and receive compensation for the pain and suffering they and their children have experienced.
Ideally, punitive damages may also be awarded to plaintiffs as a means to punish social media companies and deter them from continuing to promote harmful products.
How can a social media lawyer help me?
Whether you are concerned about your child’s social media use or your child has already experienced harm, the Social Media Victims Law Center is here for you. We offer this website as an educational resource and will provide referrals to additional resources if you contact us.
We are helping parents take back their power to protect their children from the harmful effects of social media. You can complete the form on our website to explicitly state that you do not consent to your child using these platforms. We will send the form to the correct mailbox on your behalf.
If your child has been harmed by social media, you have the right to hold the company accountable. Our social media lawyers will provide you with vigorous representation and compassionate support. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Matthew P. Bergman