MEDIA OVERDOSE DEATH –
April 12, 2022 – The suit, shared with Gizmodo and filed on behalf of Wisconsin teen Christopher J. Dawley by the Social Media Victim Law Center, seeks to hold the two companies accountable for contributing to what it describes as a“burgeoning mental health crisis” in children and teenagers in the U.S. The suit claims Dawley’s January 2015 death by suicide was caused, in part, by his addiction to the “unreasonably dangerous and defective social media products” created by Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, and Snap Inc, owner of Snapchat.
Snap did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. A Meta spokesperson said they recognize social media can have positive and negative outcomes but said they believed the ways in which people spend their time on a platform are what matters the most compared to sheer amount of time online. The spokesperson wouldn’t comment directly on the lawsuit but pointed Gizmodo to a broad list of tools and resources Meta has put in place over the years to reduce the visibility of potentially harmful content and assist users experiencing mental health difficulties.