Social Media Apps Bracing For Waves Of US Legal Battles

Social media companies are bracing themselves for an onslaught of new legal battles across the United States. State and federal lawsuits and bills including far-reaching regulatory measures are flooding in. 

The majority of state legislatures have now introduced or already passed bills that attempt to reform how social media apps work. 

The measures look to change how these social media giants moderate their content and aim to increase security measures for U.S. users. 

State and federal lawsuits, two of which were announced this month, also take aim at how social media apps and their highly effective algorithms negatively affect the mental health of American teenagers.

A whopping 34 states introduced or passed more than 100 bills primarily attempting to ban censorship or restrict hate speech. As legislative sessions kick off this year, that number is expected to increase.

That’s not all. The battles are making their way all the way to the Supreme Court. 

The top court will hear no fewer than four high-profile cases against tech giants, ranging from liability in terrorist attacks to alleged censorship of conservative viewpoints on their platforms.

Especially in investigating how much social media affects teenagers’ mental well-being, concerns cited by public officials are not unfounded

Internal Facebook documents leaked last year blatantly showed how teens who used Instagram experience harm as a result of “social comparison, social pressure, and negative interactions with other people”.

In 2019, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta obtained clear market research data demonstrating Instagram use caused 40 percent of U.S. teenagers to feel they had to create a perfect image, to think they were unattractive and didn’t have enough money. 

One in five teens in Meta’s research said that Instagram made them feel worse about themselves. 

Teenagers reported the social media app exacerbated their existing mental health issues.

Pressure is mounting for public officials to legally address the harm social media causes to children and young adults. 

Meanwhile, states have been waging a legislative war against social media platforms for content moderation for the past two years. 

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