Instagram and Snapchat are the subject of a complaint in the United States. The two social networks are accused of having “knowingly and deliberately” created harmful and addictive tools which had consequences for the suicide of a teenager, report by the American specialized media Gizmodo. Christopher Dawley died in January 2015 at the age of 17.
The complaint against Instagram (via Meta, the parent company) and Snapchat comes from the Social Media Victims Legal Center (SMVLC). This legal defense group intends to hold the major digital players accountable for the involvement of their products. In this specific case, the organization considered that the boy fell into the addiction to these platforms, because their devices are “unreasonable, dangerous and defective”.
Products “created to be addictive”
For SMVLC, these social networks are aware of implementing strategies to attract the user and make him captive. Problem: these products are “created to be addictive, despite the mental health problems they can create in the youngest”, pleads the organization. Going beyond the case of the young American, SMVLC specifies that social networks are responsible for a “burgeoning mental health crisis” among children and adolescents in the United States.
“These companies need to take the first step and create safe environments for young people. Most of them do not communicate about the impact of their products, and this lack of transparency prevents parents, users and professionals from making informed decisions or identifying solutions,” the complaint states.
The Legal Center has already filed other complaints for other suicide cases, such as that of Selena Rodriguez who killed herself in July 2021. Before the tragedy, the teenager had lived two years of “extreme addiction to Instagram and Snapchat. An addiction that was noted by a health professional who had never seen anything like it.