Mark Zuckerberg wins dismissal in lawsuits over social media harm to children

The lawsuits, brought by children who claim addiction to social media platforms, argued that Zuckerberg had a duty to speak truthfully about the risks.

Meta's logo Electronics, Mobile Phone, Phone, Person, Face, Head

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has secured the dismissal of certain claims in multiple lawsuits alleging that Facebook and Instagram concealed the harmful effects of their platforms on children. US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, ruled in favour of Zuckerberg, dismissing claims from 25 cases that sought to hold him personally liable for misleading the public about platform safety.

The lawsuits, part of a broader litigation by children against social media giants like Meta, assert that Zuckerberg’s prominent role and public stature required him to fully disclose the risks posed by Meta’s products to children. However, Judge Rogers rejected this argument, stating it would establish an unprecedented duty to disclose for any public figure.

Despite dismissing claims against Zuckerberg, Meta remains a defendant in the ongoing litigation involving hundreds of lawsuits filed by individual children against Meta and other social media companies like Google, TikTok, and Snapchat. These lawsuits allege that social media use led to physical, mental, and emotional harm among children, including anxiety, depression, and suicide. The plaintiffs seek damages and a cessation of harmful practices by these tech companies.

Why does it matter?

The lawsuits highlight a broader concern about social media’s impact on young users, prompting legal action from states and school districts. Meta and other defendants deny wrongdoing and have emphasised their commitment to addressing these concerns. While some claims against Zuckerberg have been dismissed, the litigation against Meta and other social media giants continues as plaintiffs seek accountability and changes to practices allegedly detrimental to children’s well-being.

The ruling underscores the complex legal landscape surrounding social media platforms and their responsibilities regarding user safety, particularly among younger demographics. The outcome of these lawsuits could have significant implications for the regulation and oversight of social media companies as they navigate concerns related to their platforms’ impact on mental health and well-being.