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Meta linked to Mental Health risks 

If you or a loved one joined Instagram or Facebook before age 21 and suffered from social media addiction, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Talk to an AVA legal expert today and take your first step towards healing.
the pursuit to stay on top

How Meta Ignored the Mental Health of Millions of Teenagers

For decades the number of U.S. teenagers interacting with social media has increased. Today, 95% of teens report having regular access to a smartphone. As social media becomes omnipresent across U.S. households, its effect on tweens and teens has become a hot-button issue. In fact, the problem is so hot among Washington politicians that Meta's founder Mark Zuckerburg testified before congress four times between July 2020 and March 2021.
Meta has consistently denied that its products cause mental illnesses among tweens and teens. However, recently leaked internal research documents prove that the company behind Facebook and Instagram not only knew the effects their platforms had on young people but also revealed the effects were much worse than anyone had predicted.
Social Media

Addictive By Design

Independent studies over the last decade have shown that the nature of social media, combined with easy access to the internet, has created an environment for social media addiction.  According to Tanner Garrity, "At its very core, Instagram is designed to be addictive. Earlier this year, ex-employees of Apple, Facebook and Google dished on the three-pronged approach that developers shoot for when programming the apps we can't get enough of: sufficient motivation, an action, and a trigger." 2
The shocking aspect of the report was how much Meta knew about how their product affects young and vulnerable people. Data shows that Instagram's largest demographic is people under 22. An investigative report by the Wall Street Journal found that "22 million teens log onto Instagram in the U.S. each day." 3 Instead of using the data to improve its platforms, Meta deliberately used the maladaptive qualities of its products to profit off tweens and teens despite knowing the health risks it posed to consumers.
a race for teens

Meta Deliberately Triggered Negative Emotions to Increase Profits

There is a big push to appeal to teens in the social platform industry. Meta's own internal documents refer to this campaign as the "race for teens." According to the Wall Street Journal, Meta saw teens as an essential grab for their marketing strategy. "Expanding its base of young users is vital to the company's more than $100 billion in annual revenue." 3  As they researched their target demographic, however, Meta found that for many tweens and teens, the mental effects of Instagram and Facebook lead to devastating consequences.
When the Wall Street Journal journalists examined the Facebook Papers, the company's internal papers "Repeatedly ... found that Instagram is harmful for a sizable percentage of [teenagers], most notably teenage girls." 3 Meta's research also discovered that the more negative the emotional response Instagram elicited from teenagers, the more teens continued to log in and engage with the interface. "Teens regularly reported wanting to spend less time on Instagram, the presentations note, but lacked the self control to do so." 3 With this information, Meta saw an opportunity. The more depressed the social media made teens, the more addicted they became to the platform, which meant more money for the company.
The Facebook Papers showed that instead of acting responsibly and designing a beneficial interface for its young users, it was business as usual at the company. According to the Facebook Papers, after teenagers developed an addiction to social media, they reported having to seek treatment for ADHD, depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and self-harm, which continue to follow many of these consumers into adulthood. Meta put profit over people by refusing to take proper action, and U.S. children suffered.
social media awareness

What You Can Do To Protect Your Tweens and Teens

In a perfect world, social media companies would design interfaces that protected tweens and teenagers. While many of us are fighting to protect our country's children, fighting against big corporations like Meta will take major social and cultural changes.
While we continue the fight, social media remains a staple in our day-to-day lives. So we need tools to help us protect our children today. Thankfully, there are strategies that parents can use to help their teens navigate social media.
The Mayo Clinic suggests setting reasonable limits, monitoring their accounts, discouraging unexpectable online behavior (i.e., gossiping and bullying), and encouraging in-person meet-ups with friends.
Most importantly, the Mayo Clinic emphasizes the importance of discussions. "Talk about your own social media habits. Ask your teen how he or she is using social media and how it makes him or her feel. Remind your teen that social media is full of unrealistic images." 4
contact AVA Law Group

Hold Social Media Companies Accountable

With whistleblowers and congressional hearings, we've started to see a cultural shift and movement toward holding social media companies accountable for putting profit over our children. People are also starting to hold Meta accountable in the courtroom. In 2022, law firms across the United States have filed lawsuits against Meta for everything from teens developing eating disorders to wrongful death claims. Legal restitution is possible, especially as attitudes towards Meta's role in public health continue to shift.
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AVA Law Group

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At AVA Law Group, we provide access to top-notch, experienced attorneys from across the U.S. with proven track records of success. In addition to our high-quality legal staff, we value your story. Our legal team will work to ensure the courts hear your voice.
While we understand that a lawsuit will not reverse the damage caused to you and your family, financial restitution will go a long way to give you access to the care you need to start healing. You deserve justice for the trauma you endured, and we promise to fight aggressively to protect your rights.
If you or a loved one joined Instagram or Facebook before age 21 and suffered from social media addiction, ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety, body dysmorphia, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide attempts, or completion, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Talk to an AVA legal expert today and take your first step towards healing.
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