Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have profoundly influenced the way people communicate and consume media around the world in recent years. Millions of people use these apps every day to keep up with news, connect with friends and family, and follow the most popular celebrities.
Unfortunately, social media’s disturbing effect on the mental health of teens and young adults has become increasingly apparent.
Several investigative reports, whistleblowers speaking up, internal documents leaked, and more have shown that companies like Facebook (Meta) are entirely aware that the content on their platforms can have a negative impact on teens and young adults.
If you or a loved one have suffered from mental health effects due to social media use, you may qualify for a lawsuit. Contact TorHoerman Law for a free, no-obligation case consultation to discuss your legal options. We’re here to help.
Data gathered from various survey-based research studies on teens and young adults’ social media usage has largely concluded that social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram put people at a greater risk of mental health effects.
Though the prevalence of mental health impacts from social media usage have only become a topic of public concern in recent years, the research on the effects of internet usage overall have been studied and pondered since the 1990s.
In 1998, researchers from Carnegie Mellon University published a study on the internet’s influence on social life and relationships. One of the first studies of its kind, Internet paradox: A Social Technology that Reduces Social Involvement and Psychological Well-Being found that “...greater use of the Internet was associated with declines in participants' communication with family members in the household, declines in the size of their social circle, and increases in their depression and loneliness.”
These ideas have been expanded and further confirmed as internet use has grown exponentially since the 1990s. With the introduction of popular social networking sites and increased rates of teens and young adults using them, as well as the increasing access of smartphones, the mental health effects of internet nativity have only now begun to truly present themselves en masse.
It's well known that the greater time spent on social media, the greater the likelihood of certain mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, and more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also only forced young people to spend more time online, further exposing them to potential mental issues.
Ideas on mental health issues relating to social media use have been reported in scientific studies conducted on people of all ages, but the effects are more disastrous on the developing brains of teens and young adults.
It’s important to note that due to how new these social networking sites are, significant and long-term investigations have not been able to provide the full scope of the issue at hand.
As researchers become more aware of the mental health impacts of social media and scientific methods in analyzing the phenomenon become more informed, more sweeping research is bound to be conducted.
Internal Facebook documents and investigative reports have uncovered that Facebook (Meta), which owns Instagram, knew about aspects of their products that were potentially harmful to the mental health of young people, especially teen girls.
While the company knew of negative effects, many of the features and algorithms associated with a negative impact on mental health issues were left unchanged.
Key takeaways from the investigative articles and leaked documents include the following:
A Wall Street Journal investigation, titled “The Facebook Files” details the internal issues with the social media company that have opened it to serious criticism. With help of a whistleblower, pages upon pages of internal Facebook documents provided insight on how the social media company views the young adults that use its app.
The Wall Street Journal’s investigation touched on subjects including the following:
The "Facebook Files" articles published by the Wall Street Journal raised further concerns over how time spent by young people on the Instagram platform influenced their mental health condition.
Facebook has routinely denied the narrative that their services or social media use more generally promotes the onset of mental health impacts on teens and young adults.
The company has posted multiple press releases on the issue, attempting to paint the picture that the data findings and insight reports tell the exact opposite of what the whistleblower and critics allege.
From the September 2021 press release titled What Our Research Really Says About Teen Well-Being and Instagram:
“It is simply not accurate that this research demonstrates Instagram is “toxic” for teen girls. The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced. In fact, in 11 of 12 areas on the slide referenced by the Journal — including serious areas like loneliness, anxiety, sadness and eating issues — more teenage girls who said they struggled with that issue also said that Instagram made those difficult times better rather than worse.”
Facebook and Instagram are two of the most popular social networking sites, and both have been at the center of controversy surrounding unethical practices that’s been presented all the way up to the United States Senate.
In October 2021, the US Senate called for a hearing involving a Facebook whistleblower to answer questions about the social media company’s internal findings on mental health impacts of teens and young adults.
The Facebook whistleblower, Frances Haugen, testified that Facebook was actively creating products that steered young users to potentially harmful content. She said that Facebook actively put profits over the health of users.
Plaintiff’s lawyers across the country are investigating potential legal action against Facebook for knowingly putting teens and young adults at a greater risk for mental health impacts.
If you or a loved one sought treatment for mental health issues due to Facebook or Instagram use, you may qualify to file a claim.
Teens and young adults who have used Facebook or Instagram and subsequently suffered from mental health impacts may be eligible for a lawsuit.
If you have suffered from any of the following, contact us for a free consultation:
Damages in a personal injury lawsuit refer to any losses, economic or non-economic, incurred as a result of an incident.
In an Instagram/Facebook Mental Health case, damages could include some of the following things:
As we investigate these lawsuits further, we will uncover other potential damages that may be included in legal proceedings. Be sure to check this page for any updates as the legal pressure on Facebook continues to grow.
Our lawyers are currently investigating the facts of the potential litigation against Facebook and are strategizing how to properly move forward with legal action.
If you or a loved one have suffered from mental health impacts potentially caused by social media usage, you may qualify for a claim.
Reach out to our attorneys today for a free consultation and use the chatbot on this page for a free case evaluation to see if you qualify for legal action instantly.
TorHoerman Law was responsible for handling a medical case for our family. I was extremely impressed with their professionalism and ability to react quickly. They also did a nice job keeping us updated with the case throughout the process. This was the first time experiencing a situation like this and Tor Hoerman law did an excellent job from start to finish.
TorHoerman Law is an extraordinary law firm – a firm that truly makes the client’s best interests the primary concern. Their team of personal injury lawyers are experienced, personable, and well versed in a range of litigation areas. They are supported by a dedicated team of staff that are as equally friendly and helpful. I would recommend TorHoerman Law for any personal injury litigation needs.
All of my questions were answered quickly and in a way I could understand. Steve and the entire staff were friendly and professional.
I highly recommend this law firm! The attorneys and staff at THL worked hard, communicated every step of the process, kept me well informed at all times, and exceeded all expectations! The staff is kind, considerate, professional, and very experienced. Look no further, call now!
Top-notch, hardworking attorneys!
A wonderful and professional legal team. They helped me when I needed expert legal representation! Thank you TorHoerman Law!
They contacted me the next day. Very nice people!