Facebook Mental Health Lawsuit: Safeguarding Future Generations against the Impact of Social Media

In recent years, social media platforms like Facebook have become integral parts of teenagers’ lives. From staying in touch with friends to exploring interests, social media helps keep us connected.

Conversely, research has revealed that steady social media use can have negative effects on a teen’s academic performance, social interactions, and interpersonal relationships.

Concerns about their impact on mental health have grown, culminating in the Facebook lawsuit. It highlights the complex link between social media and the mental health of adolescents.

In this article, we will explore how the Facebook class action lawsuit impacts the mental well-being of teenagers.

Understanding the Facebook Lawsuit

Facebook and Instagram are both Meta-owned companies. Meta has been accused of manipulating the algorithm to generate addictive content. 

TorHoerman Law believes this has led to social media addiction, depression, and other mental health issues. Numerous lawsuits related to social media and mental health are underway.

And it’s not just Meta. Other social media giants are facing the same legal action. Snapchat, TikTok and YouTube were named in the lawsuit.

In a nutshell, the legal action underscores the responsibility of social media giants to protect younger Facebook users’ mental well-being.

US School System Takes Meta to Task

In 2023, the Clarksville-Montgomery County School System observed an increasing mental health challenge among students. Placing the blame on social media companies, it filed a lawsuit and is hoping for a class action settlement.

The school system claimed these companies lacked control systems regarding content. An attorney representing Montgomery County said it caused school disruptions, increased costs and safety issues.

Cyberbullying, violent threats and inappropriate content saw a spike in mental health concerns. Numerous incidents culminated in the lawsuit. 

The “Devious Licks” TikTok Challenge dared students to steal from or vandalize school bathrooms. TikTok eventually shut down the challenge and removed any content relating to it. 

The damage had already been done. Clarksville-Montgomery County schools were left with a $20,000 damage to property bill, Clarksville Now reported.

Navigating the Social Media Landscape

Social media addiction has been linked not only to anxiety and depression. A UK study found these afflictions could manifest themselves physically. Symptoms include nausea, headaches, muscle tension, and tremors.

Whether the outcome of the Facebook lawsuit is a favorable one, remains to be seen. In the meantime, we can enforce rules that stem the mental health decline among teens.

Advocate for Policy Changes

In April this year, the American Psychological Association (APA) called for stricter policies on adolescent social media use. This was in particular to Facebook accounts.

They noted companies had the power to correct harmful features and functions on their platforms. It also reminded the public that over 50% of children displayed one symptom of social media addiction.

Although processes like age restrictions were put in place, the APA claimed they were not enough. Policies alone are not sufficient to protect the vulnerable. Tech companies are required to reduce the risk embedded within their platforms, it said.

Digital Literacy

With information at our fingertips, it’s easy to share everything we come across. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter.

The Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology published an in-depth study on digital literacy in 2023. The study was conducted during the pandemic and found disinformation on COVID-19 was spread via various social media platforms.

One way of increasing digital literacy is to teach it in the classroom. Teachers have been encouraged to use it as a tool to educate children on how to use social media responsibly.

Encouraging Positive Online Interactions

Social media influencers can promote unhealthy behavior. Oftentimes, teens find themselves engrossed by an influencer’s feed. Their curated content offers a distorted view of reality. 

Teens need to be mindful of the content they’re being served. Always remain critical and question motives. Also, encourage them to interact with content that makes them feel good about themselves. It should positively impact them.

Limiting Likes

Instagram has already started limiting the amount of Likes on a post. Psychologist Jacqueline Sperling, PhD, suggests platforms decrease “mass sharing” altogether. The function could be reimagined as a one-on-one communication tool.

Social media offers valuable opportunities for connection and self-expression. And yet, its impact on mental health cannot be overlooked. 

The Facebook mental health lawsuit serves as a reminder of the responsibilities technology companies bear. They need to safeguard well-being, especially among adolescents. Parents, teachers, and the authorities need to work together to minimize the impact of social media on children of all ages.


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