Westport School District Joins Lawsuit Against TikTok, Facebook
WESTPORT — Westport's school district will join a nationwide class-action lawsuit against TikTok, Facebook parent company Meta, and other social media firms after a unanimous vote from the Westport School Committee last month.
"There's no risk to us, and no cost obligation to us to join these lawsuits," committee chair Nancy Stanton-Cross said at the meeting in early February.
"And I think that we've had these discussions about social media and the negative effects it's had on our kids."
Stanton-Cross noted that the law firm behind the suit — Frantz Law Group, which is based in California — is the same one that won a $1.2 billion settlement against vaping company JUUL in December, a suit that Westport schools also joined.
"What we'll ever get out of that, could be a dollar," Stanton-Cross said. "You know when you join those class actions...We don't know what we're going to get, but that's for another time."
The motion passed unanimously, with no further discussion from committee members.
A memo from the law firm published on its website states that social media companies "have caused a mental health crisis among children and teenagers" resulting in high rates of anxiety, depression, and other disorders.
"Many children and teenagers spend an inordinate amount of time scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and other social media platforms, where they are subjected to often harmful and exploitative content that encourages disordered eating, unhealthy social comparison, and cyberbullying," the firm wrote.
Due to harmful content on social media, Frantz alleges, "students [are] performing worse in school, are less likely to attend school, are more likely to engage in substance use and to act out."