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Legal Actions Addressing Social Media’s Negative Impact on Mental Health


Social media has revolutionized our ways of communication, connecting, and sharing. As handy as it comes, it has nonetheless dominated our mental health in a more negative way rather than proposing a positive outlook.

It has raised a primary concern of presenting people on social media as ‘perfect’ making way for self-esteem and body image issues for the generation.

The anonymity provided by the online environment encourages individuals to engage in hurtful behaviors they may not indulge in face-to-face interactions.

This article delves into the impact of social media on mental health, exploring its negative aspects and actions taken against it.

The Dilemma of Social Media

The nature of social media is reinforcing. These highly addictive platforms are linked to bodily illnesses, despair, and anxiety.

The question then arises, why do users keep coming back if it makes them mentally unwell? Social media potentially acts on the curiosity factor, which anticipates the users to come back again with the possibility of a desired outcome.

The Harm of Content Exposure

Children and adolescents continue to have easy and widespread access to extreme, inappropriate, and harmful content, which can be shared through algorithmic designs and unwanted content exchanges.

A systematic review of numerous studies revealed that some social media platforms even depict live acts of self-harm, such as asphyxiation and cutting, leading to serious consequences like seizures and severe bleeding.

Moreover, these studies found that discussing or showcasing such content can normalize self-destructive behaviors, potentially leading to suicide pacts and encouraging others to engage in self-harm.

Illusion of a Perfect Body

According to TorHoerman Law, social media platforms are particularly linked to low self-esteem, disordered eating behaviors, body dissatisfaction, and social comparison, especially in adolescent girls.


A comprehensive review of twenty studies revealed a strong correlation, mostly related to social comparison, between the use of social media and eating disorders and body image problems.

When asked about the impact of social media on their body image, almost half of adolescents aged 13 to 17 expressed that it makes them feel worse, while only 14% reported feeling better, and 40% felt neither better nor worse.

Lawsuits against Social Media Platforms

Looking at all these potential harms, schools, families, and individuals have started filing lawsuits like the Snapchat lawsuit. Other social media mental health lawsuits have also been filed to take strict actions.


Around 60 families have filed lawsuits against Snap Inc. Snapchat lawsuit cases allege that certain of its characteristics, such automatically deleted messages and the My Eyes Only privacy feature, make it difficult to monitor criminal activity and are particularly appealing to drug sellers.

The company tried to dismiss the Snapchat lawsuit back in October 2023, but the judge of Los Angeles Superior Court decided that the lawsuit may proceed to trial.

Other Social Networking Sites

In March 2024, Toronto’s Catholic school board, the public school boards of Toronto (TDSB), Peel Region, and Ottawa-Carleton came together.


They declared that they would be suing the owners of Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. They are requesting damages totaling $4.5 billion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Social Media Platforms be Held Responsible for Harmful Content Shared by Users?

In certain cases, social media platforms may be held legally responsible for the content shared by their users based on various factors, including the platform’s terms of service, their role in moderating and monitoring content, and adherence to applicable laws and regulations.

What are Some Common Legal Issues Related to Social Media Use?

Common legal issues related to social media use include defamation, invasion of privacy, intellectual property infringement, cyberbullying, and online harassment.

Can Social Media Cause Addiction?

While not recognized as a clinical disorder, excessive use of social media can lead to compulsive behavior and a preoccupation with online interactions.

Can Individuals Sue for Online Harassment or Cyberbullying?

Yes, individuals who experience online harassment or cyberbullying may have legal options. Laws vary by jurisdiction, but victims can seek legal remedies such as restraining orders, injunctions, or monetary damages in cases where harm has been inflicted.

439 out of 534 social media lawsuits are pending as of April 2024 in the Northern District of California’s multidistrict litigation under number 3047. There haven’t been any jury verdicts or court-approved settlements in social media litigation.

It is foremost our duty to use social media wisely and make sure that it does not impact our mental well being at any cost. However, if you or someone you know has been affected by the use of social media, do not forget to take necessary actions.