A woman in Kentucky has sued Meta Platforms (Facebook), alleging that the social media giant is responsible for a vast array of psychological ills she has suffered. The plaintiff claims that Meta knowingly implements its technology in a way that promotes social media addiction:

Defendants have intentionally designed their products to maximize users’ screen time, using complex algorithms designed to exploit human psychology and driven by advanced computer algorithms and artificial intelligence available to two of the largest technology companies in the world. Defendants have progressively modified their products to promote problematic and excessive use that they know threatens the actuation of addictive and self-destructive behavioral patterns.

This allegedly poses a special danger to children, given their formative state:

Emerging research shows that the human brain is still developing during adolescence in ways consistent with adolescents’ demonstrated psychosocial immaturity. Specifically, adolescents’ brains are not yet fully developed in regions related to risk evaluation, emotion regulation, and impulse control. The frontal lobes—and, in particular, the prefrontal cortex—of the brain play an essential part in higher-order cognitive functions, impulse control, and executive decision-making. These regions of the brain are central to the process of planning and decision-making, including the evaluation of future consequences and the weighing of risk and reward.

Nevertheless, defendants allegedly target children with their app:

Equipped with ample information about the risks of social media, the ineffectiveness of its age-verification protocols, and the mental processes of teens, Meta has expended significant effort to attract preteens to its products, including substantial investments in designing products that would appeal to children ages 10-to-12.

These harmful aspects of the app have allegedly caused the plaintiff to suffer various psychological ills, including “social media compulsion, attempted suicide, multiple periods of suicidal ideation, self-harm, an eating disorder(s), depression, body dysmorphia, severe anxiety, and a reduced inclination or ability to sleep.” The case is similar to a recently-filed one against TikTok mentioned here, where parents claim that the app resulted in the deaths of two children that engaged in imitative behavior prompted by it.