Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP Files Landmark Lawsuit on Behalf of The San Mate… – Press Release


Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP filed suit this week on behalf of the San Mateo County Board of Education and the San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools over the youth-targeting business practices of Defendant social media companies, YouTube Inc. (and related companies, Alphabet Inc., XXVI Holdings Inc., Google LLC), Snap Inc., and TikTok Inc. (and related company, ByteDance Inc.).

As noted by President Biden in his recent 2023 State of the Union address, social-media companies must be held accountable “for the experiment they are running on our children for profit.” Indeed, the San Mateo County Board of Education and the San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools are seeking to do just that – they seek to hold Defendants accountable for the extensive harm being wrought on our local schools and students.

As alleged in the Complaint, the San Mateo County educators assert that the current youth mental health crisis has been made worse by the social media industry’s deployment of artificial intelligence and machine learning to manipulate a youth audience with the goal of keeping children and teens engaged with their products in harmful ways.

The national tragedy of youth mental health is captured in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) most recent bi-annual Youth Risk Behavior Survey Report. That report observes a steady and then accelerated increase in nearly all categories of risk between 2011 and 2021. The report also tracks social media use. As alleged in the Complaint, leading experts agree that there is a troubling connection between social media use and increases in suicidal behavior and depression in youth. As stated by NYU Professor Jonathan Haidt, social media companies are “monetizing misery.”

Joseph W. Cotchett of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy said:

This case represents one of the most serious issues facing the nation’s students as outlined in the complaint, social media companies have ignited a serious mental health…