Zuckerberg wins bid to avoid personal liability in addiction lawsuits


Zuckerberg wins bid to avoid personal liability in addiction lawsuits

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Allison Robbert

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing regarding big tech and the online child sexual exploitation crisis at the Capitol on January 31, 2024.

A judge has granted Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s request to dismiss lawsuits that allege he was personally responsible for his platforms fueling social media addiction.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled Monday, excusing Zuckerberg from being held liable, but said the case against Meta, the parent company to Facebook and Instagram, still stands.

Lawsuits filed against Meta on behalf of youth argue that features on the social media platforms are designed to addict children.

They argue that Zuckerberg was warned that Instagram and Facebook weren’t safe platform for kids but ignored those warnings. The plaintiffs say Zuckerberg had an “exclusive and superior knowledge” of how Meta’s products could harm minors.

The plaintiffs also argue that Zuckerberg should be held liable because he had “public, partial representations” concerning the safety of Meta’s products and he is a famous and notable figure.

In her ruling, Rogers said Zuckerberg himself wasn’t required to disclose safety information because he does not share a “special relationship” with young users.

The plaintiffs in the case “have not pled any relationship­­‑­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­let alone a ‘special’ one-between themselves and Zuckerberg. This theory fails,” Rogers wrote in the ruling, first reported by Bloomberg.

Zuckerberg also was found not liable solely because he is the public face of Meta.

Rogers said the plaintiffs who sued Zuckerberg and Meta could amend and refile their lawsuits. In the 25 lawsuits mentioned in the ruling that specifically state claims against Zuckerberg must “file one consolidated addendum” that states their concerns of Zuckerberg’s role.

The lawsuits mentioned in the ruling are just a handful of others that are filed against Meta, Google, TikTok and Snapchat.




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