AGs allege mental health harm, despite data on social media’s benefit
On Tuesday, a group of 42 attorneys general filed lawsuits against Meta alleging that the company’s product design choices harmed young users’ mental health. The lawsuits come shortly after the release of new research from Oxford calling into question the link between negative mental health trends and social media adoption.
“Big tech is an easy political punching bag, but the reality is that large, empirical studies don’t suggest social media is the driver behind mental health trends among teens,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich. “Instead, studies consistently find that social media plays a supporting role for young people, especially LGBTQ youth, promoting feelings of acceptance and connecting teens with people who identify like they do.”
In August, the Oxford Internet Institute published the largest independent scientific study ever conducted investigating the spread of Facebook across the globe, and found no evidence linking social media use to widespread psychological harm.
Tuesday’s lawsuit also follows on a recent legal victory in Netchoice v. Bonta, in which the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California halted a California law that held social platforms liable for product designs accessible to minors. In that case, the California court found little distinction between a law holding social media platforms liable for editorial product designs and restrictions on free speech. Similarly, Tuesday’s lawsuit attempts to hold platforms liable for editorial product design choices.
Chamber of Progress (progresschamber.org) is a center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future. We work to ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps, and that the tech industry operates responsibly and fairly.
Our corporate partners do not have a vote on or veto over our positions. We do not speak for individual partner companies and remain true to our stated principles even when our partners disagree.