“Defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,” the complaint reads, per the AP.
“Worse, the content Defendants curate and direct to youth is too often harmful and exploitive.”
Typically, social media apps are protected from such a lawsuit under federal law. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects the aforementioned companies from what third-party users post on their platforms in most cases. However, the Seattle Public School System says that act does not apply in this case.
“Plaintiff is not alleging Defendants are liable for what third-parties have said on Defendants’ platforms but, rather, for Defendants’ own conduct,” the lawsuit reads, per the AP.
“Defendants affirmatively recommend and promote harmful content to youth, such as pro-anorexia and eating disorder content.”
Both Snapchat and YouTube’s parent company, Google, have issued statements pushing back against the claims put forth by the Seattle Public School System.
“We will continue working to make sure our platform is safe and to give Snapchatters dealing with mental health issues resources to help them deal with the challenges facing young people today,” Snapchat stated.
“We have invested heavily in creating safe experiences for children across our platforms and have introduced strong protections and dedicated features to prioritize their well-being,” a spokesperson for Google added.