Canadian school boards sue social media giants

Canadian school boards sue social media giants

Action seeks $4bn in damages for harming the way children ‘think, behave and learn’

(Photo: Reuters)
(Photo: Reuters)

Four of Canada’s largest school boards are seeking more than $4 billion in damages from social media firms such as Facebook owner Meta and Snap in a lawsuit, alleging that their products harm students.

The products are “negligently designed for compulsive use, have rewired the way children think, behave and learn”, a joint statement by the boards said on Thursday.

That has caused learning and mental health crises in students, resulting in the schools having to invest more in support programmes, they said.

Several studies have shown that platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be addictive and their prolonged use can lead to anxiety and depression.

Thirty-three US states last year sued Meta, accusing its products of causing mental health issues among young children and teenagers.

The Canadian lawsuit has also named TikTok, the short-video social media platform from China’s ByteDance.

The action has been brought on by the Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

More than 1,000 schools are under the jurisdiction of the boards. The Toronto-based law firm Neinstein LLP is representing them.

Mothers Against Media Addiction (Mama), a grassroots movement of parents fighting back against the crisis of smartphone and social media addiction, gather outside the Facebook and Meta Platforms offices in New York City on March 22. (Photo: Reuters)

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