The lawsuit attacks several social media sites for using psychological tricks to keep children viewing their apps
Included in the suit is this graph from Pew Research showing the percentage of teens viewing various apps for different periods
The suit goes on to say that the aforementioned mental health crisis was a byproduct of the defendants seeking to achieve the largest profits possible. “Their business models are based on advertisements,” says the suit. “The more time users spend on their platforms, the more ads Defendants can sell.”
The suit also criticizes the content that these apps disseminate and mention as an examples a “corpse bride” diet that limits caloric intake to only 300 calories a day. The average male should consume 2,000 to 3,000 calories a day while the average female should take in 1,600 to 2,000 calories a day. The Plaintiffs also accuse these apps of promoting “self harm.”
The Defendants used various methods to keep children interested in their apps
A graph from the Pew Research Center included in the lawsuit shows the result of a survey that reveals 19% of teens use YouTube “Almost constantly” while 41% use it several times a day. 16% of teens use TikTok “Almost constantly.” Those figures for Snapchat and Instagram were 15% and 10% respectively.
The filing says that the Defendants continuously flood content onto the screens of children to keep them scrolling for more content and to eliminate any reasons they might have for ending their sessions with these apps. Two other methods used to keep children signed in to these apps are called “Reciprocity” and Intermittent Variable Rewards (IVR). The latter rewards users for actions they take while looking at the app.
activity with each release of dopamine,” the lawsuit says. Reciprocity leads users to spend time on an app returning messages to unknown users who say that they “saw” the users messages even if they didn’t admit to reading them.
The Plaintiffs want the court to Enter an Order stating that the actions of the Defendants constitute a public nuisance under the laws of the state of Washington. The school district also seeks an Order stating that the “Defendants are jointly and severally liable and must stop the actions that caused the public nuisance. The suit also asks that the Court stop the Defendants from taking actions that led to the filing of the complaint.