Announcer: The following segment is sponsored by Harding Mazzotti.
Interviewer: Well, just this morning, we told you about the more than 40 states filing suit against Facebook and Instagram parent company Meta. And earlier this month, the Schenectady School District voted to join a similar lawsuit with other districts against the parent companies of major social media platforms. So, here to discuss why, is partner Rosemarie Riddell Bogdan from Harding Mazzotti. So, first, can you explain why are these lawsuits targeting all of these social media platforms?
Rosemarie: Sure. The reason that the social media platforms are being targeted is because now the studies are showing that exposure to these platforms, especially in young people, can lead to all sorts of ill toward mental health effects. And that’s really the basis for why the social media platforms are being targeted and most importantly, what the social media platforms have done to create this addiction to them, which results in these health effects in our young people.
Interviewer: Right. So, what’s being done about this from a legislative perspective?
Rosemarie: Well, from a legislative perspective, actually just this past month we’ve had two bills proposed in New York, and one is called the Safe Act For Kids and the other one is called the Child Data Protection Act. So, the first one is one that basically stops them from using this algorithm to create this addictiveness on behalf of the young people, and it makes them use a default feed like they used to before there were these algorithms where they just feed the addictive nature of the media and keep feeding it and feeding it to the website participant.
Interviewer: Yeah. So, we’re seeing that schools are joining in on these lawsuits, too, but what about individuals and such?
Rosemarie: Well, the same reason the schools now are joining and there’s 42 attorney generals that have actually joined on behalf of states, okay? But it’s the same theory in their cases that applies to individual people in our offices representing these youth for these mental health effects.
And it’s exactly the same theory of liability. It’s how they’re running their platform, how they’re using their algorithms, how they’re making these platforms addictive to young people, and knowing that these addictive behaviors result in these mental health effects.
Interviewer: And I’m just curious if you can tell me, too, like, how you see this all playing out in the timeline of it all, because there are so many different lawsuits going on kind of at the same time, but all targeting the same issue.
Rosemarie: Well, there’s two different mechanisms that the municipal plaintiffs are using. They can sue in their own state or they can sue as part of a joint sort of federal effort against these companies. These actions obviously do take time because you’re talking about tremendous discovery against very large companies but they all sort of will move together.
The litigations do tend to coordinate with regard to discovery and that sort of thing. But if I said they would be over tomorrow, I would not be reporting. But it’s really depending on how much litigation takes place and how the courts decide certain issues, etc. But it’s certainly something that with regard to individual people, not just their school district or not just the state in which they live in that they have a cause of action, too.
Interviewer: Yeah. Well, I think a lot of parents are gonna be paying really close attention to all this. They appreciate you coming in and talking about it.
Rosemarie: Absolutely. And everyone has to be aware that there are statutes of limitations, which involve the amount of time you have to bring a case. So, you don’t want to wait too long without consulting with an attorney because you could lose your right to make the claim.
Interviewer: Okay. Thanks, Rosemarie.
Rosemarie: You’re welcome.
Interviewer: Well, for more info covered in our weekly, “What Are Your Rights?” segments, or to send us a story idea, just head to our website, cbs6albany.com.