The mother of an 11-year-old girl has filed a lawsuit blaming Instagram and Snapchat for her daughter’s suicide.
The lawsuit was filed by Tammy Rodriguez on behalf of her daughter Selena, who “struggled for more than two years with an extreme addiction to Instagram and Snapchat,” according to the lawsuit.
The girl suffered from depression, sleep deprivation, eating disorders, self-harming behavior, and missed school, which ultimately led to her suicide in July 2021.
The lawsuit alleges that Snapchat is “akin to a slot machine but marketed toward teenage users who are even more susceptible than gambling addicts.”
Similarly, Instagram is designed to reward users with likes and followers, which can be extremely detrimental to teenagers and pre-teens whose whose brains are still not fully developed.
A bipartisan coalition of Attorneys General is currently investigating the effects of Instagram on children and teens, as well as potential violations of consumer protection laws by promoting the apps to young people.
According to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey:
“Facebook, now Meta, has failed to protect young people on its platforms and instead chose to ignore or, in some cases, double down on known manipulations that pose a real threat to physical and mental health – exploiting children in the interest of profit.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. Court for the Northern District of California (San Francisco Division) against Meta Platforms Inc., the owner of Instagram, and Snap Inc., owner of Snapchat.