US school board sues Meta for contributing to "mental health crisis"
Meta Platforms was sued by the school board in the US for allegedly addicting students to its social media platforms and contributing to a mental health crisis. The San Mateo County Board of Education added the parent company of Facebook and Instagram to a complaint it filed March 13 against other social media giants, including Google, TikTok and Snap.
Meta's headquarters in Menlo Park, California, is about four miles from the county seat in Redwood City.
The complaint is similar to a first-of-its-kind suit filed in January by the Seattle public school district. A handful of other school districts in locales from Florida to Arizona have also lodged suits, as have scores of individual youths and their parents.
Antigone Davis, Meta's Global Head of Safety, said the company wants teens to be safe online and offers more than 30 safety tools for kids and families, including supervision and age verification technology.
"We automatically set teens' accounts to private when they join Instagram, and we send notifications encouraging them to take regular breaks," Davis said in a statement. "We don't allow content that promotes suicide, self-harm or eating disorders, and of the content we remove or take action on, we identify over 99% of it before it's reported to us."
Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire chief executive officer of Meta, has in the past championed school reform, including a $120 million contribution to San Francisco Bay Area schools almost a decade ago. But the 116-page complaint calls Facebook and Instagram a public nuisance and accuses Meta and the other companies of racketeering, gross negligence, conspiracy and unfair competition.
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