TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat sued over youth mental health crisis

New York City sued popular social media platforms for purposefully manipulating children.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams said on Wednesday that his administration has filed a lawsuit against social media companies, including Meta Platforms' Facebook and Instagram for fueling mental health crisis among the youth.

The lawsuit, filed in the California Superior Court, also includes Alphabet's YouTube, Snap Inc's Snapchat, and ByteDance's TikTok and alleges that the companies intentionally designed their platforms to "purposefully manipulate and addict children and teens to social media applications."

Meta, TikTok and YouTube already face hundreds of lawsuits filed on behalf of children and school districts over the addictiveness of social media.

"Over the past decade, we have seen just how addictive and overwhelming the online world can be, exposing our children to a non-stop stream of harmful content and fueling our national youth mental health crisis," Adams said in a statement.

Social media companies have come under intense scrutiny as regulators push them to protect children from harmful content.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg last month apologized to families at a U.S. Senate hearing about the impact that social media has on children.

A Meta spokesperson said the company wanted teens to have "safe, age-appropriate experiences online," while TikTok said it will continue to work to keep the community safe by tackling industry-wide challenges.

"We've built services and policies to give young people age-appropriate experiences, and parents robust controls. The allegations in this complaint are simply not true," Google's spokesperson Jose Castaneda said in a statement.

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