Consumer Fraud Protection | Technology and Media

Facebook Addiction Lawsuit

Connect with an attorney

Active case

Facebook has been connected to addictive behavior and serious mental health consequences. Social media users have filed Facebook addiction lawsuits seeking to hold the tech company Meta accountable for alleged harms the platform caused.

What is Facebook addiction?

Researchers use “Facebook addiction” to refer to a person’s compulsive overuse of Facebook. Addictions of any kind are behaviors people repeat to alter their mood. These behaviors often have negative consequences.

Facebook is the most popular social media platform, with about 3 billion active monthly users. Because of the platform’s popularity, Facebook addiction is a pressing mental health problem for many people today.

How to tell if someone is addicted to Facebook

If you believe you or someone you love is experiencing Facebook addiction, contact a mental health professional for help. Mental health professionals are equipped to determine if someone’s behavior has strayed into addictive territory.

Professionals may use scales and questionnaires to determine if a person’s behavior is addictive.

One scale used to measure Facebook addiction is the Bergen Facebook Addiction Scale. This tool measures a person’s Facebook habits in six areas along a scale of 1 (very rarely) to 5 (very often). The scale items (shown below) follow traditional addiction measures adapted for Facebook use:

  1. Salience: A heightened state of attention. You spend a lot of time thinking about Facebook or planning how to use it.
  2. Tolerance: Adjustment to using the platform and craving more. You feel an urge to use Facebook more and more.
  3. Mood modification: Use of the platform to alter your current state. You use Facebook to forget about personal problems.
  4. Relapse: Failed attempts to solve the issue alone. You try to cut down on the use of Facebook without success.
  5. Withdrawal: Consequences of not using the platform. You become restless or troubled if you can’t use Facebook.
  6. Conflict: Use of Facebook affects your day-to-day life. You use Facebook so much that it has had a negative impact on your job or studies.

This scale can help determine the extent of a person’s addiction. Mental health professionals may also choose to use other means to evaluate someone. What’s important is that people in crisis over Facebook use get professional attention to help solve their problems.

Who is most affected by Facebook addiction?

Studies show that young people, particularly teenage girls, are some of the most at-risk for the alleged harms of social media companies. Senators and lawmakers have accused Facebook of consciously targeting younger users despite the platform’s 13-year-old age restriction.

Consequences of Facebook addiction

Addiction to social media has been linked to several consequences, mostly with the mental health of users. In extreme cases, it can lead to depression and suicidal ideation and activities. 

Studies link these mental health problems to social media use and addiction:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased risky behavior
  • Body dysmorphia
  • Damage to body image and self worth
  • Death
  • Depression
  • Dissociative behavior
  • Eating disorders
  • Exposure to predators
  • Insomnia
  • Self-harm
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Withdrawal symptoms
     

These mental health issues can lead to serious issues. A U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory characterized these issues with Meta platforms as a “youth mental health crisis.”

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these or other mental health issues, contact a mental health professional. In extreme cases, social media-addicted people may feel or indicate suicidal urges. These urges and indications should be treated seriously. Seek medical help right away.

Another resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which can be contacted at 988. Calling this number will connect you with a trained staff member. Calls are free and confidential. You can also visit their website for help.

Why are people filing Facebook addiction lawsuits?

People are filing social media addiction lawsuits over Facebook’s alleged harm to their satisfaction, mental health and general well-being. Facebook addiction lawsuits are a type of social media lawsuit.

Facebook mental health lawsuits have been brought against the platform’s parent company, Meta. Meta is also responsible for Instagram and is also a defendant in Instagram mental health lawsuits.

Social media addiction lawsuits often include several common components. These lawsuits allege that platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat are designed to keep users coming back, which can foster addiction. Social media mental health lawsuits also include claims over the negative effects of certain social media features, such as dissatisfaction, depression and suicidal ideation and attempts.

Lawsuits are filed individually and may be heard on a multidistrict litigation (MDL) docket. MDLs collect cases with similar details to help speed up pre-trial proceedings. Cases in an MDL are then considered and resolved individually. The social media addiction lawsuit MDL is in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. As of February 1, 2024, roughly 400 lawsuits were pending in the MDL.

Contact a social media addiction attorney

You may be eligible to sue if you or your child has suffered negative mental health effects from using Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok social media platforms. Contact Motley Rice today for more information about a social media lawsuit.
Call Attorney Jonathan Orent at 1.800.768.4026 or complete this form to explore your options.

Contact a lawyer today

Our social media lawsuit experience

Motley Rice attorneys have been fighting for families and children for decades. Our experience includes suing tech companies in mental health, data breach and securities cases.

If you’re thinking about filing a lawsuit over social media harm, contact us. Your well-being is important to our team. Our lawyers will listen to the details of your potential case and help you determine if filing a lawsuit is the right thing for you.

Sources

Andreassen, C. S., Billieux, J., Griffiths, M. D., Kuss, D. J., Demetrovics, Z., Mazzoni, E., & Pallesen, S. (2016). The relationship between addictive use of social media and video games and symptoms of psychiatric disorders: A large-scale cross-sectional study. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors

Bloomberg: Meta’s Instagram Users Reach 2 Billion, Closing In on Facebook (Oct. 26, 2022)

NPR: Here are 4 key points from the Facebook whistleblower's testimony on Capitol Hill (Oct. 5, 2021)

U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation: MDL statistics report (Feb. 1, 2024)