Mayor Adams, city officials announce lawsuit against social media giants for influencing children

Officials say the city currently spends over $100 million on youth mental health programs and services annually.

Adolfo Carrion and Shniece Archer

Feb 15, 2024, 1:42 AM

Updated 105 days ago

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Mayor Eric Adams and multiple city officials announced on Wednesday that they would be proceeding with a lawsuit against five social media platforms – TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube.
Adams is joined by Corporation Counsel Sylvia O. Hinds Radix, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan, NYC Health + Hospitals president Dr. Michell Katz, and Department of Education chancellor David C. Banks in this lawsuit.
These leaders claim that the big five social media outlets are accountable for fueling the current nationwide youth mental health crisis. Officials say the city currently spends over $100 million on youth mental health programs and services annually.
It is a three-part strategy that focuses on holding social media companies responsible for making their platforms safer for younger uses, educating young people and their supervisors on healthy social media use and researching the impacts of social media on the city’s youth.
The lawsuit alleges that companies have intentionally designed their social media platforms to manipulate and addict children and teens to social media apps intentionally. In a press release from City Hall, some of those alleged measures include using mechanics akin to gambling, using algorithms to retain users for extended periods of time, and manipulating users through reciprocity.
Attorney General Letitia James provided the following response to this lawsuit:
“Our children are facing a mental health crisis fueled by social media companies’ disregard for their safety and wellbeing,” said James. “We owe it to our kids to tackle the damaging effects of social media, and I applaud Mayor Adams for taking this important action today to hold these companies accountable.”


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