Social media is a defective product, lawsuit contends
A California court could soon decide whether social media firms need to pay — and change their ways — for the damage they’ve allegedly done to Americans’ mental health.
Plaintiffs’ lawyers plan to file a consolidated complaint in the Northern District of California next month, accusing the tech giants of making products that can cause eating disorders, anxiety and depression.
If the case is allowed to proceed, it will test a novel legal theory, that social media algorithms are defective products that encourage addictive behavior and are governed by existing product liability law. That could have far-reaching consequences for how software is developed and regulated, and how the next generation of users experiences social media.
It also could upstage members of Congress from both parties and President Joe Biden, who have called for regulation since former Facebook Product Manager Frances Haugen released documents revealing that Meta — Facebook and Instagram’s parent company — knew users of Instagram were suffering ill health effects, but have failed to act in the 15 months since.