Home Design Mark Zuckerberg seeks to avoid personal liability in social media addiction lawsuits

Mark Zuckerberg seeks to avoid personal liability in social media addiction lawsuits

Mark Zuckerberg seeks to avoid personal liability in social media addiction lawsuits

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A hot potato: As long as there has been social media, there have been concerns about its addictive nature, especially when it comes to young people and children. It’s led to several lawsuits, and Meta boss Mark Zuckerberg is trying to ensure that he isn’t held personally liable.

There are two dozen lawsuits that accuse Meta and other social media platforms of purposely designing their products in a way that makes them addictive to children. There are also claims that the companies knowingly allow underage users to open and operate accounts.

In an attempt to ensure he is not held personally liable, Zuckerberg will be appearing at a hearing today in California federal court, writes Bloomberg.

The odds are certainly in Zuckerberg’s favor. Corporate law traditionally shields executives from liability, particularly at massive companies like Meta where many people are involved in the decision-making process.

If Zuckerberg wins his case, he would be dismissed as a personal defendant in the litigation, though the allegations against Meta would not be impacted.

It’s claimed that Zuckerberg was repeatedly warned that Facebook and Instagram were not safe for children, but he ignored the findings and publicly stated the platforms were safe for kids.

“Zuckerberg, the world’s fourth-richest person as of Thursday, has argued that he can’t be held personally responsible for actions at Meta just because he’s the CEO,” writes Bloomberg. “As for the statements made by Zuckerberg himself, his lawyers claim that they were generalized or covered by the US Constitution’s First Amendment protection of free speech and that Zuckerberg didn’t have a duty to disclose the safety findings that were allegedly reported to him.”

The two dozen cases that name Zuckerberg come from more than 1,000 suits in state and families filed by families and public school districts against Meta, Google, TikTok, and Snap. US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, who is overseeing the cases, has dismissed some while allowing others to proceed.

One of the biggest controversies Meta/Facebook has ever had to deal with was in 2021 when leaked documents revealed it had spent the last few years examining the effects Instagram had on younger users’ mental health, and that it knew just how harmful the social network was to kids, especially teenage girls.

In January last year, Seattle schools sued social media companies for causing a “mental health crisis” among children. Over 40 states did the same thing last October.

In 2022, Washington DC’s attorney general Karl A. Racine sued Zuckerberg over the Cambridge Analytica incident, holding the CEO personally liable for his role in the company’s largest-ever privacy debacle.

In November, a new study that used data from over 2 million people disputed claims that the internet, smartphones, and apps are detrimental to users’ mental health. The researchers said they looked for a smoking gun linking tech with mental well-being but didn’t find it.

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