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Canadian School Boards Sue Social Media Giants for $4 Billion

 |  March 28, 2024

Four major Canadian school boards have filed a lawsuit against social media behemoths such as Meta Platforms and Snap seeking damages exceeding $4 billion. The lawsuit alleges that these platforms have inflicted harm on students through their products, leading to learning and mental health crises.

In a joint statement issued on Thursday, the school boards accused social media firms of negligently designing products that promote compulsive use, consequently rewiring the behavior, thinking, and learning patterns of children. They argue that the detrimental impact of these platforms has necessitated increased investment in support programs to address the resulting challenges faced by students.

Citing numerous studies highlighting the addictive nature of platforms like Facebook and Instagram, the school boards underscored the correlation between prolonged usage and adverse mental health outcomes such as anxiety and depression. This lawsuit echoes similar concerns raised in the United States, where 33 states filed lawsuits against Meta last year, alleging its products exacerbated mental health issues among young users.

Related: EU to Impose Fines on Social Media Giants for Election Disinformation

In addition to Meta and Snap, the Canadian lawsuit also targets TikTok, the popular short-video social media platform owned by China’s ByteDance. The inclusion of TikTok reflects growing apprehensions surrounding the impact of social media on youth wellbeing.

The legal action has been initiated by four prominent school boards: Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board. These boards collectively oversee more than 1,000 schools across Canada.

Source: Reuters