Instagram Lawsuit: Instagram Mental Health Lawsuit Guide & Updates

Key takeaways:

  • Instagram and Mental Health: This article discusses the lawsuits against Instagram and its parent company, Meta, for their alleged role in the mental health crisis, particularly among young users. Instagram is accused of exacerbating mental health problems and eating disorders.
  • Instagram Addiction: This article defines Instagram addiction as a condition where an individual feels compelled to use the platform excessively, leading to distress or interference with daily life. This excessive use can lead to numerous negative consequences, including body image problems, eating disorders, and other mental health disorders.
  • Joining the Instagram Lawsuit: This article provides information on who may qualify for the lawsuit against Instagram. This includes young people who developed mental health issues as a result of using Instagram and parents or guardians of children under the age of 18 who have experienced negative mental health effects or committed suicide as a result of using Meta products.

On this page we’ll discuss the ongoing Instagram Lawsuit, updates we have on the Instagram Mental Health Lawsuit, how social media seriously harms your mental health, the benefits of deleting social media for mental health, and much more!

Introduction to Instagram Mental Health Lawsuit

Social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok have become increasingly popular, particularly among young users.

However, the wave of social media seems to have caused a significant swell in mental health problems and even deaths, causing many to wonder if the costs outweigh the benefits.

Now, Instagram and Meta, its parent company, are being sued for their part in the mental health crisis.

Table of Contents

Lawsuit Updates

  • March 21, 2024 Update:

    The Social Media Mental Health Lawsuit continues to unfold.

    The number and variety of lawsuits filed against social media companies are expanding, with individuals pursuing legal action against key platforms for numerous concerns and grievances.

    Our legal firm is actively enrolling new clients for the Social Media Addiction Lawsuit, amidst increasing scrutiny faced by these corporations from various quarters.

    A judge in New York state has permitted a wrongful death lawsuit to move forward against social media entities, such as Meta, Alphabet, Reddit, and 4chan, for their role in the radicalization of the individual behind the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, in 2022.

    The court rejected the platforms’ request to dismiss the case, recognizing claims that the platforms played a part in the shooter’s radicalization with dangerous ideologies via their algorithms designed to drive engagement.

    The judge stated that these major media companies benefit from the violent content on their platforms, which serves to boost user engagement.

    Additionally, in Tennessee, over 30 public school districts have initiated a lawsuit against social media platforms.

    Numerous public schools throughout the U.S. have brought forward similar legal actions against these companies, with some of the largest school districts in the state now participating.

    This lawsuit seeks to increase accountability and improve access to vital resources aimed at protecting children, tackling the lack of adequate protective, monitoring, and control measures on social media platforms.

    These legal proceedings highlight the escalating concerns about the effects of social media on user mental health and, in some cases, its role in increasing societal violence.

    If you or someone close to you has suffered mental health issues due to social media usage, you might have grounds for a claim.

    Contact us today for a free consultation or utilize the ChatBot on this page for immediate feedback. 

  • March 1, 2024 Update:

    The ongoing Social Media Mental Health Lawsuit has grown to encompass 410 cases as of March, with eleven new cases filed within the last month.

    In February, 399 Social Media Lawsuits were consolidated in the MDL.

    This increase reflects widespread concern about social media’s impact on the mental well-being of young individuals.

    The litigation targets companies like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, accusing them of contributing to mental health problems through neglect and manipulative tactics.

    Individuals affected by these issues are encouraged to seek legal guidance and may qualify to join the lawsuit. 

    If you or a loved one has been affected by Social Media companies, contact us today for a free consultation or use the ChatBot on this page.

  • February 20, 2024 Update:

    On February 14th, The state of New York made headlines by beginning legal action against major social media platforms, alleging their contribution to the youth mental health crisis.

    The lawsuit accuses these companies of negligence, asserting they played a part in supporting the mental health challenges faced by young people.

    The state calls upon these companies to amend their practices and provide just compensation for the threat to mental health they’ve purportedly fostered.

    This legal move comes shortly after the State Health Commissioner issued an advisory, likening unrestricted social media access to a public health danger.

    The advisory recommends limiting social media engagement until children reach the age of 14 years, and offers guidance to parents and educators on safeguarding children from harm.

    Mayor Adams pointed out the detrimental impact of social media platforms on children’s mental well-being, highlighting how the constant stream of harmful content has contributed to a national crisis in mental health.

    Corporation Counsel Hinds-Radix criticized the prioritization of profit over children’s welfare by these media giants, alleging they intentionally designed platforms with addictive features to maximize financial profits.

    Dr. Vasan, the commissioner for the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), drew a comparison between social media and environmental toxins such as lead or air pollution.

    This lawsuit is just the beginning of legal recourse against social media companies as concerns over their impact on society continue to grow.

What is Instagram being accused of?

Platforms like Instagram are being accused of exacerbating mental health problems and eating disorders.

Last year, The Wall Street Journal published information on The Facebook Files, documents released by a former company employee detailing the link between body image problems and teenage users.

Among many other things, Instagram is accused of prioritizing engagement statistics over its users’ well-being and knowing their platform’s impact on mental health but not doing anything to mitigate the negative effects.

It’s not just The Wall Street Journal that’s investigating Instagram’s impact on mental health.

In 2018 the BBC ran a piece detailing how the app can be “addictive,” and later that same year, Forbes claimed it might be worse than cigarette addiction.

Is there a class action lawsuit against Instagram?

There have recently been a few class action lawsuits against Instagram, in particular, the case against the embedding feature.

This involved two photographers who sued Instagram in 2021.

They did this on behalf of any users who found that their uploaded content had been embedded elsewhere without their consent.

They claimed that, among other things, it facilitated third-party access to user data and allowed them to commit copyright infringement.

However, the lawsuits related to mental health are directed more generally at Meta, the owner of various social media companies, including Instagram.

The Instagram mental health lawsuit filed against Meta is a class action lawsuit that seeks to hold the company liable for the mental health effects that its platform can have on users.

It also claims that the company violated California law by failing to protect minors from the negative effects of its platform.

In 2022, two families of girls who have eating disorders sued the company, saying that its Instagram platform led to mental health issues in teenage users in particular.

These are the most recent lawsuits that were filed in San Francisco.

The families have hired Laura Marquez-Garrett of the Social Media Victims Law Center to represent them.

The lawsuit alleges that Instagram caused the girls to become addicted, leading to various mental health issues, including eating disorders like anorexia.

These conditions resulted in suicide attempts and various hospitalizations.

What is Instagram addiction?

Instagram addiction can be defined as a condition whereby an individual feels compelled to use the social media platform excessively, to the point that it causes them distress or interferes with their daily life.

The excessive use of Instagram can lead to numerous negative consequences.

In extreme cases, social media addiction can lead to body image problems, eating disorders, and other mental health disorders.

This especially affects teenage users, who often contribute the most time spent on social media.

This addiction involves not being able to stop scrolling, comparing oneself to others, feeling FOMO, obsessive behaviors and other mental health problems that can take over one’s life.

It is important to note that addiction is a serious mental health issue and should not be taken lightly, leading to many taking some form of legal action against Instagram.

How safe is Instagram?

Although the platform is generally considered safe for adult Instagram users, young users are at a higher risk of developing addiction and other mental health issues.

This is due to the fact that social media can be very damaging to young people who are still developing mentally and emotionally.

Additionally, the constant onslaught of images and messages can be overwhelming for young users, leading them to develop depression and more.

Other highly concerning safety aspects is the prevalence of sexual messages and content from people trying to exploit young girls.

This can lead to young girls developing a distorted view of body image and sexuality and has even led to attempted suicide by a high amount of teen girls.

Is Instagram a problem for teenage users?

The influx of mental health and social media lawsuits shows that Instagram is certainly a problem for teenage users, as it can lead to a number of negative consequences.

Mental health lawsuits against Instagram allege that the platform contributes to self-harm, suicide, anorexia, sleep deprivation, abuse, depression, and many other mental health issues.

These Instagram lawsuits also claim that the platform is deliberately designed to be addictive and uses algorithms that exploit vulnerabilities in young people and young adults, particularly those who have fragile mental health.

While it is difficult to know the true extent of the damage that Instagram causes, there are certainly a number of teenagers and young adults who have been significantly affected by the platform.

Does Instagram affect self-esteem?

Instagram does affect self-esteem and self-worth, especially among teen Instagram users.

While adult Instagram users may be able to distinguish false lifestyle portrayals from reality, teen users are still developing their sense of self and may believe the images they see on Instagram represent what life should be like.

This has led to massive issues relating to teen girls and their body image and has made it easier to exploit young girls on the platform who are highly susceptible to negative thinking about themselves.

Body image issues in teenage girls and boys result from constantly seeing images of perfectly-crafted lives and bodies on the platform, along with filters that make users look even more idealized.

This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and extremely low-self worth, to the point of suicide attempts in some cases.

How can you join the Instagram lawsuit?

You may qualify for this lawsuit if you are a young person who developed mental health issues as a result of using Instagram.

Qualifying conditions for the Instagram Lawsuit include, but are not limited to:

  • Eating disorders like binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia
  • Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Cutting or self-harm
  • Attempted suicide

If you are the parent or guardian of a child under the age of 18 who has experienced negative mental health effects or committed suicide as a result of using Meta products, you may also be eligible to join this lawsuit.

You’ll likely receive compensation for potential damages, such as economic and non-economic losses, as a result of your mental health issues.

In this case, damages could include medical bills, emotional suffering, therapy costs and more.

If you’re unsure whether you qualify to take part, use our chatbot below for a free case evaluation.

The Instagram mental health lawsuit could set a precedent for other social media companies that are being accused of similar things, and if successful, could result in significant compensation for those who have been affected.

It could also lead to more regulation around the way social media platforms are designed and operated.

If you believe you or your child may have a case, be sure to speak with a qualified attorney today.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can you sue Instagram for emotional distress?

    Yes, you can sue Instagram for emotional distress, although this may be hard to do.

    If you’ve experienced damage to your reputation and emotional distress as a direct result of false and defamatory statements made about you on Instagram, you may be able to file a defamation lawsuit.

    If you plan to file a defamation lawsuit, you may be able to seek financial compensation or punitive damages from the platform.

    Complaints for defamation must typically be filed within one year of the date when the offensive material was published.

  • Can Instagram be good for mental health?

    Many adult Instagram users claim that the platform can benefit mental health by allowing them to stay connected with friends, share photos and experiences, and receive positive feedback.

    Meta has taken steps to address mental health concerns, including sharing resources for people with eating disorders.

    In 2021, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testified before Congress on user safety for the first time and claimed that he was dedicated to protecting users.

    The company committed to releasing new parental controls in March 2022, testing different types of feeds (including a chronological one) and introducing an age verification process for users under 13 years old.

    Nevertheless, Instagram usage among teens still presents a host of issues, from low-self worth, a variety of eating disorders, anxiety, and many other mental health problems.

  • Does social media, in general, have a correlation to mental health problems?

    Excessive and imbalanced social media usage can negatively affect mental health.

    Vulnerable teens are by far the most at risk for developing problems relating to social media.

    Alongside eating disorders, self-harm, depression and anxiety, social media platforms such as Instagram are said to facilitate sexual messages, cyber-bullying, and a general sense of comparison among users.

    Research suggests that spending extended periods on social media can lead to feelings of social isolation, FOMO (fear of missing out), and anxiety.

    An increasing amount of girls attempted suicide after being cyber-bullied on Instagram, seeing images of “perfect” body types, and being shown excessive material relating to self-harm and suicide.

    As a result, many recent lawsuits are about teen girls and the serious impact social media has had on their lives and their families.

  • Which mental health issues has Instagram been linked to?

    With plaintiffs claiming that Instagram caused them or their children to develop body image issues, worse self-esteem, an eating disorder, and other mental health problems, the list of mental health issues that the app has been linked to is long.

    Some of the more commonly mentioned disorders include:

    Anxiety

    For some, scrolling through the app can trigger feelings of anxiety, while for others, the perfectionism often portrayed through curated posts can lead to worries about their own life and appearance.

    Depression

    Depression is one of the most commonly mentioned mental health disorders concerning Instagram.

    The comparison culture that is often associated with the app, as well as feelings of loneliness and isolation, can lead to users feeling down.

    Body dysmorphia

    For those who already suffer from body dysmorphia or are prone to developing it, Instagram can be a dangerous place due to the constant stream of images that show unrealistic or photo-shopped standards of beauty.

    Eating disorders

    Eating disorders among teenage users are also common, with the app often being blamed for promoting an “unhealthy” or “perfect” body type.

  • Is there a class action lawsuit against Facebook?

    There is a class action against Meta, the company that owns Instagram and Facebook, for not doing enough to protect the mental health of its users and contributing to mental health issues.

    The lawsuit against Meta alleging harm to younger users was a result of using Meta social media products.

    They claim Meta knew about its products’ risks to users’ mental health but did nothing about the potentially harmful content for teen users.

    The plaintiffs argue that Meta’s negligence has contributed to their or their children’s mental health issues, including anxiety, addiction, and even suicide.

    What’s more, it’s suggested that Meta products mimic addictive substances and are intentionally created to make social media use addictive for users.

Written By:
Jessie Paluch
Jessie Paluch

Experienced Attorney & Legal SaaS CEO

With over 25 years of legal experience, Jessie is an Illinois lawyer, a CPA, and a mother of three.  She spent the first decade of her career working as an international tax attorney at Deloitte.

In 2009, Jessie co-founded her own law firm with her husband – which has scaled to over 30 employees since its conception.

In 2016, Jessie founded TruLaw, which allows her to collaborate with attorneys and legal experts across the United States on a daily basis. This hypervaluable network of experts is what enables her to share reliable legal information with her readers!

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Here, at Tru Lawsuit Info, we’re committed to helping victims get the justice they deserve.

To do this, we actively work to connect them with attorneys who are experts in litigating cases similar to theirs.

Would you like our help?