More Ontario school boards join social media lawsuit against Meta, Snapchat, TikTok

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More Ontario school boards sue social media giants
WATCH ABOVE: More Ontario school boards are launching legal action against social media companies, claiming their products are harmful to children and the way they learn. Caryn Lieberman reports – May 29, 2024

Five Ontario school boards and two private schools have joined a lawsuit against social media tech giants Meta, Snapchat and TikTok that alleges they disrupt student learning and the education system.

Schools for Social Media Change said on Wednesday the lawsuit now includes Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, York Catholic District School Board, Trillium Lakeland District School Board, Ottawa Catholic District School Board and District School Board of Niagara. It also includes private schools Holy Name of Mary College School and Eitz Chaim.

The lawsuit was initially launched in March by four of Ontario’s largest school boards, the Toronto District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, Peel District School Board and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

Click to play video: 'Ontario school boards suing social media giants'
Ontario school boards suing social media giants

Toronto-based law firm Neinstein LLP is representing the boards and schools in the lawsuit.

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“The lawsuits filed by these boards and schools claim social media products, intentionally designed for compulsive use, have rewired the way children think, behave, and learn and educators within these boards/schools have been left to manage the fallout,” Schools for Social Media Change said.

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“The addictive properties of the products designed by social media giants have compromised all students’ ability to learn, disrupted classrooms and created a student population that suffers from increasing mental health harms,” the group said. “As a result, social media companies have forced school boards to divert significant resources including personnel, hours, funds, and attention to combat the growing crisis caused by their products.”

A spokesperson for TikTok has said its team of “safety professionals” continually evaluate practices to support teens’ well-being, while Snapchat has said its happy with the role it plays helping friends stay connected as they face the challenges of adolescence. Meta, the parent company for Facebook and Instagram, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The allegations in the lawsuits have not been proven in court.

— With files from The Canadian Press

Click to play video: 'Why 4 Ontario school boards are suing 3 social media giants'
Why 4 Ontario school boards are suing 3 social media giants

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