Social media has become an almost inseparable aspect of our lives – especially among younger generations. But can social media play a role in causing injuries? How do we define injuries in New York? Can a piece of digital software really cause people to carry out violent acts or attempt dangerous stunts? Can you really hold a social media company accountable for these injuries? As is often the case in the legal world, the answers to these questions are complex. Perhaps the most accurate answer is, "It depends."
TikTok Sued in New York Court
On May 11, 2023, it was reported that the popular social media platform TikTok had been sued in a New York federal court. However, the lawsuit didn't get very far. Why? Because the plaintiff did not suffer any actual injuries. The lawsuit stemmed from the platform's alleged promotion of harmful and violent "trends" that schoolchildren were engaging in. These trends included slapping teachers, committing acts of sexual violence, carrying out property damage, and much more.
But the plaintiff was not affected by any of these acts of violence. Instead, it seems as though she was merely trying to bring attention to the issues surrounding TikTok. Even though she claimed that she was suing on behalf of her own school district, the court didn't accept this argument because she had no close relation to the third party who was injured. No school district has ever alleged that they suffered a "loss" due to TikTok either.
Social Media Companies for Causing Buffalo Massacre
On May 12, 2023, it was reported that the surviving family members of the Buffalo grocery store shooting in 2022 were suing various social media companies for "radicalizing" the shooter. Also named in the lawsuit were a gun dealer, a body armor company, and the parents of the shooter. The social media companies being sued are Meta, Snapchat, Discord, Reddit, and Google. Amazon is also being sued because it owns Twitch – the platform through which the shooter live-streamed the massacre. Finally, 4chan is being sued. It is unclear whether this lawsuit will actually be successful.
Has a Social Media Company Ever Paid an Injury Settlement?
It is rare for a social media company to be held liable for causing any physical injury. One of the few high-profile examples is the $52 million settlement paid by Facebook to moderators in 2020. These moderators apparently developed PTSD during their time working for the social media giant.
Where Can I Find a Qualified Injury Attorney in New York?
If you've been searching the New York area for an experienced injury attorney, look no further than the Glassman Law Group. We have assisted numerous plaintiffs over the years, and we know that not all cases are straightforward. If you think that a guilty party caused your injury, the best thing to do is get in touch with us as soon as possible. The only way to determine whether you can sue a particular party (such as a social media company) is to receive advice based on your specific situation. Reach out today to get started.