A Connecticut mother has filed a lawsuit against Snapchat and Facebook, claiming the social media platforms are responsible for her 11-year-old daughter’s suicide last year.
Social Media Victims Law Center filed a lawsuit in California on behalf of Tammy Rodriguez, whose daughter killed herself in July 2021. Rodriguez said her daughter had a severe addiction to social media for two years before her death, according to WFSB.
Rodriguez said she tried to curb her daughter’s social media use and even sought medical help for her. However, Rodriguez said her daughter would run away when she took her devices.
According to the lawsuit, an outpatient therapist who assessed the 11-year-old said “she had never seen a patient as addicted to social media.” Before her suicide, Rodriguez’s daughter reportedly suffered from sleep deprivation that was reportedly exacerbated by her addiction to Snapchat and Instagram (which is is owned by Facebook, now known as Meta Platforms).
Rodriguez said her daughter’s social media addiction worsened during the coronavirus pandemic, leading her to develop an eating disorder and practice self-harm. Though the 11-year-old underwent in-patient psychiatric treatment multiple times, she reportedly also began physically and mentally abusing her mother and siblings.
According to the Hartford Courant, the lawsuit stated that adult men solicited Rodriguez’s daughter to post sexually-explicit content. That content was reportedly shared with the girl’s classmates.
The lawsuit stated that Snapchat and Facebook did not have safeguards in place that would have shielded the 11-year-old from dangerous and exploitative content. The two companies were also accused of not verifying minors’ age and identities or having adequate parental controls.
The lawsuit also alleged that Snapchat and Instagram’s platforms are not only addictive, but they have no tools to prevent children from being sexually exploited or abused — including a system that notifies their parents.
Rodriguez is seeking unspecified damages.
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[Featured image: WFSB video screengrab]