Social Media's Effects on Mental Health | Instagram and Facebook Mental Health Lawsuit

Facebook Mental Health Lawsuit

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.

instagram mental health lawsuit

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. 

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Table of Contents

Social Media Harm Lawsuit Updates

Facebook and Snap, Inc. (Owners of SnapChat) have been named in a lawsuit filed in Tennessee. The claim alleges that the defective social products from these companies led to extreme mental health impacts on a 17-year-old, which drove him to commit suicide. 

The June 2022 claim includes arguments from the plaintiff’s attorneys on the damaging effect social media has on younger users. 

Visit this page for more updates on the Facebook Mental Health Litigation as they come available. 

Social Media’s Effects on Teens and Young Adults

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. 

social media mental health statistics

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.

An Internet-Driven Mental Health Crisis?

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. 

Social Media and Mental Health Issues

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. 

Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Issues

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. 

facebook papers on teen mental well being

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:

  • Through surveying, Facebook found that 32% of teen girls said they felt bad about their body and instagram made it worse. “We make body image issues worse for one in three teen girls'', said one Facebook employee.
  • Facebook paired online surveys and diary studies to analyze user behavior: They found that there are some major problems that are SPECIFIC TO INSTAGRAM and not other social media platforms.
  • Instagram’s researchers noted that those struggling with the platform’s psychological effects weren’t logging off. Teens regularly reported wanting to spend less time on Instagram, but lacked the self control to do so.
  • A survey of 50,590 people in 10 countries found that appearance-based social comparison on Instagram is a big problem, especially for young girls: One-third of people say they compare their appearances to others’ often or always, and nearly half (48%) of teen girls do. 

Wall Street Journal: The Facebook Files

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 “whitelist” which exempted certain users from content rules based on the high levels of engagement their page received, potentially promoting misinformation. 
  • Researchers at Instagram raising concern over mental health impacts on young girls using the app. Facebook has routinely denied the platform’s negative aspects and ignored conversations about reform.
  • Facebook actively promoting its products to preteens and children - even going as far as pondering the creation of an “Instagram for Kids” and labeling young users, specifically, teenage girls as a "valuable but untapped audience".
  • Internal documents from Facebook on the impacts of their products on children. These internal documents were used as a basis for the Congressional hearings. 

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’s Response to Criticism and Leaked Documents

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: Hiding Reports, Silencing Criticism, and Evading Responsibility

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.

Legal Action Against Facebook (Meta)

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.

legal investigation on facebook mental health

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. 

Potential Injuries in a Meta Mental Health Lawsuit

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: 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Eating Disorders
  • Body Dysmorphia
  • ADHD
  • Self harm or suicidal ideation
  • Any other diagnosed mental illnesses

Potential Damages in a Meta Mental Health Lawsuit

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:

  • Medical treatment costs
  • Therapy costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional damage

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. 

TorHoerman Law: Investigating the Facebook/Meta/Instagram Mental Health Lawsuit

Our lawyers are currently investigating the facts of the potential litigation against Facebook and are strategizing how to properly move forward with legal action.

facebook mental health lawsuit attorneys, facebook mental health law firm, social media mental health lawsuit attorneys

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.

Tor Hoerman

Tor Hoerman

Owner & Attorney - TorHoerman Law

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