The impact of social media on society is one of the raging debates of our time.
But for one woman, the verdict is already in and Instagram, and by implication services like it, are guilty of promoting addictive behaviors, among other things.
PetaPixel reports that grieving mother Tammy Rodriguez’s late daugther Selena struggled with social media addiction, a condition vouchsafed by Selena’s therapist. Apparently, the addiction was so immobilizing that Selena found it difficult to sleep, developed a sleeping as well as an eating disorder, and depression from using Instagram and rival service Snapchat. Additionally, Selena was using these apps as an underage user leading to the argument that the two platforms were negligent in not confirming the user’s actual age prior. All of this, it is alleged, contributed to Selena's suicide, the lawsuit reads.
The case centers on this as well as the apps’ “addictive” programming and user interface that is meant to encourage consistent use. Of course, as PetaPixel points out, this isn’t the first time these social media apps are alleged to be a real problem for society at large. We report constantly on the things people will do for clicks as well as how the platforms are weaponized for bullying and other antisocial activities – including human trafficking, according to one report.
Whether or not there is a case here is up to the court to decide but it is yet another sign that social media companies might need to re-evaluate some of their business practices, particularly in areas where underage users are concerned. Longtime readers will recall that the mere idea of an “Instagram for Kids” app was so distasteful that Meta canceled the project outright.
Do you think social media can be implicated in cases like this? Let us know your thoughts on social media’s impact on behavior in the comments below if you like.
Check out our other photography news on Light Stalking at this link right here.