Social media giants in spot as US families suing Big Tech



Daily Thanthi


SAN FRANCISCO/LONDON: Hundreds of families are suing social media giants like TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and Meta (parent company of Instagram and Facebook) in the US and they feel the tech companies as “big, bad monsters”. According to a media report, the plaintiffs include ordinary families and school districts from across the US. “I literally was trapped by addiction at age 12. And I did not get my life back for all of my teenage years,” Taylor Little, now 21, was quoted as saying in the report that came out on Monday. Taylor’s social media addiction led to suicide attempts and years of depression. “If I had my phone taken away, it felt like having withdrawals. It was unbearable. Literally, when I say it was addictive, I don’t mean it was habit-forming. I mean, my body and mind craved that,” she was quoted as saying. Taylor and hundreds of other American families are suing four of the biggest tech companies -- Meta (parent company of Facebook and Instagram), TikTok, Google and Snap Inc (parent of Snapchat). “Lawyers for the families believe the case of 14-year-old British schoolgirl Molly Russell is an important example of the potential harms faced by teenagers,” the report noted. Russell, a seemingly happy teenager from northwest London, was found dead in her bedroom in November 2017. It later emerged she had viewed masses of content related to suicide, depression and anxiety online. Russell’s name is mentioned a dozen times in the master complaint submitted to the court in California. In a breather for these families, a federal court in the US last week rejected social media giants’ motion to dismiss dozens of lawsuits, accusing them of running platforms “addictive” to kids and allegedly spreading child sex abuse materials.