Charlotte, NC
6:15 am8:23 pm EDT
May 19, 2024 3:12 pm

by Ahmed Jallow, NC Newsline
May 1, 2024

The number of North Carolina local school districts to have joined a nationwide lawsuit against social media companies accused of exploiting children grew again last Friday when Chatham County Schools added its name to the list.

The school district becomes one of more than 200 school districts nationwide suing social media giants Meta, Google, TikTok, and Snap. The districts accuse the companies of prioritizing profit over the safety and well-being of children, despite being aware of the negative impact their platforms have on young users.

The school board voted unanimously to join the social media lawsuit at its March 11 meeting.

“Chatham’s decision to take legal action reflects our unwavering commitment to the welfare of our students and to ensure that social media corporations are held responsible for their contribution to the mental health challenges faced by our students,” Gary Leonard, Chair of the Chatham County School Board, said in the statement.

School leaders say they are seeking both to address what they describe as the surge in mental illness among students due to social media use and to secure financial compensation to help them respond to the mental health crisis among students, according to the release.

“Social media companies have deliberately designed their products to attract and addict teen and adolescent users, using targeted algorithms, constant notifications, and insufficient parental controls. Chatham County Schools aims to initiate a transformation of these platforms, seeking both accountability and financial support. By pursuing this legal action, the school district aims to alleviate the burden placed on taxpayers and secure the necessary resources to address the crisis, thereby safeguarding the well-being of its students,” according to the statement.

In November, a federal judge shot down an effort from the social media companies to dismiss the nationwide litigation, according to Reuters.  

Chatham County Schools becomes the latest North Carolina district to join the lawsuit against social media companies. Others include:

Charlotte-MecklenburgWilson CountyJohnston CountyUnion CountyRobeson CountyMoore CountyWayne CountyClinton CountyPitt CountyRockingham CountyCumberland CountyWake CountyAlamance-BurlingtonCurrituck CountyEdenton-ChowanEdgecombe CountyNorthampton CountyDurham County

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