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'Manipulate and addict': NYC sues social media giants, claiming platforms are 'fueling' youth mental health crisis
New York City Mayor Eric Adams (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

'Manipulate and addict': NYC sues social media giants, claiming platforms are 'fueling' youth mental health crisis

New York City Democratic Mayor Eric Adams announced Wednesday that his administration filed a lawsuit against several social media giants, claiming the platforms are "fueling the nationwide youth mental health crisis," according to a press release from the mayor's office.

"Even as we have created jobs, opportunity, and prosperity with new technology, there have been unforeseen consequences and new dangers," Adams said during a Wednesday news conference. "Especially when it comes to social media's effect on the mental health of our young people."

"Our most recent data found that young people in New York City are experiencing anxiety, hopelessness, and even attempting suicide at rates we have never seen before," the mayor continued. "And there is growing evidence the power of social media is a major cause."

The city has reportedly spent more than $100 million yearly to provide mental health programs for youth.

Adams' administration filed the lawsuit against the major social media companies Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, as well as their parent companies, Meta, ByteDance, and Google.

The mayor claimed that the social media platforms are "designed with addictive and dangerous features" that manipulate and take advantage of children.

"The likes, the trophies, the streaks are designed to manipulate a dopamine release in the brain and children lack the maturity and impulse control to continually regulate their use," Adams stated. The complaint compared some of these features to gambling.

The lawsuit also accused the platforms of using algorithms that intentionally generate feeds that keep children using the applications longer, encouraging "compulsive use."

Adams also accused social media of contributing to an uptick in dangerous behavior, including subway surfing and car thefts.

A Meta spokesperson told Reuters the company wants youth to have "safe, age-appropriate experiences online." TikTok affirmed its commitment to ensuring users are safe.

A Google spokesperson, Jose Castaneda, told Reuters, "We've built services and policies to give young people age-appropriate experiences and parents robust controls. The allegations in this complaint are simply not true."

Adams' lawsuit is the latest in a slew of complaints lodged against the social media companies.

Late last month, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) sued TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger, claiming the platforms use "deliberately" addictive algorithms, Blaze News previously reported. The AG's complaint compared social media sites' "infinite" scrolling features to becoming trapped in "a bottomless pit."

At the time, a Snap spokesperson told Fox Business, "Snapchat opens directly to a camera – rather than a feed of content that encourages passive scrolling – and has no traditional public likes or comments. While we will always have more work to do, we feel good about the role Snapchat plays in helping close friends feel connected, happy and prepared as they face the many challenges of adolescence."

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