Doug Bedell — May 25, 2022, 3:59 pm

Social Media Sites: Less Than Secure for Young People

Social media platforms are facing “the first wrongful death lawsuits,” Richard Dahl advises on the FindLaw site. “The first wrongful death lawsuits against social media companies are emerging, and federal and state lawmakers are considering further steps to require social media platforms to better safeguard children.

“Legal pressure began to mount last October when Frances Haugen, a former data scientist at Facebook, told a U.S. Senate subcommittee that the tech giant knowingly employed damaging algorithms.

“Social media platforms use algorithms to measure users’ interests and guide them to content that may keep them online – so they see more ads. Part of Haugen’s testimony focused on Instagram, a platform popular with adolescents and owned by Facebook’s parent company, Meta. She leaked several of Meta’s own studies on the topic, including surveys that found:

” • 13.5% of girls in the United Kingdom said they felt suicidal after starting Instagram.

” • 17% of teenage girls said their eating disorders got worse after starting Instagram.

” • 32% of teenage girls reported that when they had negative feelings about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.”

“Social” media becomes a play on words when websites, inadvertently or not,  lead young people astray.

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