PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. - Prince George's County Public Schools has officially filed a lawsuit against several major social media companies.
School officials say apps like Facebook and TikTok are contributing to a student mental health crisis and the rise in cyber-bullying.
Last week, PGCPS chose several law firms, including Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein to represent the school in the case. Meta, Google, ByteDance, and Snap Inc. were all named in the lawsuit.
"Our primary goal is to ensure the safety and well-being of our children, allowing them to learn and receive the highest quality education possible," said Judy Mickens-Murray, the PGCPS school board chair in a statement. "Unfortunately, students in our district and throughout the nation are confronting unparalleled mental health and learning challenges caused by their addiction to social media, intensified by detrimental algorithms and features. It is imperative that these companies take responsibility for their role in this crisis affecting our youth."
"School systems nationwide, including Prince George’s County, face the challenge of meeting student needs while delivering exceptional education and fostering a positive learning atmosphere," said Dennis Whitley, III, an attorney representing the school board. "Through this lawsuit, it is our hope to hold social media companies responsible for their role in the youth mental health crisis and to compensate Prince George’s County School District for the financial burden they have faced because of these defendants’ exploitative platforms."
Ivy Choi, a Google spokesperson, told FOX 5: "Protecting kids across our platforms has always been core to our work. In collaboration with child development specialists, we have built age-appropriate experiences for kids and families on YouTube, and provide parents with robust controls. The allegations in these complaints are simply not true."
The suit is filed in Northern California but school districts across the country have cosigned. One of those districts is in Cecil County, Maryland.