New York City Sues Facebook, TikTok, YouTube Over Youth Mental Health Crisis

New York City has filed a lawsuit against the parent companies of TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube, claiming their platforms contribute to the worsening mental health crisis among young people.

The city is joining hundreds of school districts from across the country in filing litigation seeking to force tech giants to change their behaviour and to recover the costs of addressing this public health threat. The city spends more than $100 million on youth mental health programs and services each year.

The lawsuit – filed in California – seeks to hold the companies operating TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube accountable for their role creating the youth mental health crisis in New York City. The lawsuit alleges that companies intentionally designed their platforms to purposefully manipulate and addict children and teens to social media applications with features that include

The complaint specifically states the companies’ intentional conduct and negligence has been a substantial factor in fuelling a youth mental health crisis, which constitutes a public nuisance affecting schools, public hospitals, and communities citywide, and, as a result, that the city has had to expend significant resources to address. In New York City, over 38 percent of high school students reported feeling so sad or hopeless during the past year that they stopped engaging in their usual activities.

“Over the past decade, we have seen just how addictive and overwhelming the online world can be, exposing our children to a non-stop stream of harmful content and fueling our national youth mental health crisis,” said mayor Eric Adams. “Our city is built on innovation and technology, but many social media platforms end up endangering our children’s mental health, promoting addiction, and encouraging unsafe behavior. Today, we’re taking bold action on behalf of millions of New Yorkers to hold these companies accountable for their role in this crisis, and we’re building on our work to address this public health hazard. This lawsuit and action plan are part of a larger reckoning that will shape the lives of our young people, our city, and our society for years to come,” he added.

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