Ontario School Boards Sue Social Media Platforms For “Rewiring” Kids, Ask For $4 Billion In Claims

Four major school boards in Ontario have initiated legal action against tech giants Meta Platforms (NASDAQ: META), Snap (NASDAQ: SNAP), and TikTok’s parent firm ByteDance for having “rewired the way children think, behave, and learn, leaving educators and schools to manage the fallout.”

The Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board have jointly filed a lawsuit alleging that these platforms, through their negligently designed products, have significantly disrupted student learning and contributed to a crisis in attention, learning, and mental health among students.

“The fall out of compulsive use of social media amongst students is causing massive strains on the four school boards’ finite resources, including additional needs for in-school mental health programming and personnel, increased IT costs, and additional administrative resources. Collectively, the boards are advancing claims in excess of four billion dollars,” the organization said.

Under the banner of a new coalition named Schools for Social Media Change, the school boards allege that students are facing an “attention, learning, and mental health crisis” due to the excessive and compulsive use of social media platforms. They further claim that these platforms facilitate cyberbullying, harassment, hate speech, and misinformation, exacerbating conflicts within schools.

“The crisis caused by social media giants is putting children and youths at risk. Our students, society’s next generation of leaders, deserve better,” said Pino Buffone, Director of Education, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

The strain on resources, including additional funding required for mental health programming, IT infrastructure, and administrative support, prompted the school boards to seek damages from the social media giants. The lawsuit calls upon these companies to remedy the costs incurred by the education system and redesign their products to ensure student safety.

The legal action, led by Neinstein LLP, a Toronto-based boutique litigation firm, seeks to hold social media giants accountable for the substantial costs incurred by the education system as a result of their products’ harmful effects. The ultimate goal of the litigation is to compel these companies to redesign their platforms to prioritize the safety and well-being of students.

Duncan Embury, a partner at Neinstein, told CBC News that the companies named are mainly responsible for the social media kids use. He said they share similar designs or algorithms that can lead to problems.

As far as he knows, this is the first case like this in Canada, saying he “wouldn’t be surprised if there [were] more boards that took this step.”

In an email, a Snap spokesperson said Snapchat was made to be different from typical social media: “Snapchat opens directly to a camera — rather than a feed of content — and has no traditional public likes or comments. While we will always have more work to do, we feel good about the role Snapchat plays in helping close friends feel connected, happy and prepared as they face the many challenges of adolescence.”

The school boards have clarified that they will not bear any costs related to the lawsuit unless a favorable outcome is achieved.

Information for this briefing was found via CBC and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

One thought on “Ontario School Boards Sue Social Media Platforms For “Rewiring” Kids, Ask For $4 Billion In Claims

  • March 28, 2024 12:19 PM at 12:19 pm

    This is ridiculous. It looks like it’s some sort of collaborative action in concert with the Trudeau Liberal-NDP government’s continual efforts to censor social media. Trudeau’s latest, nightmarish bill is C-63 that would allow someone to be prosecuted IF somebody else just THINKS they MIGHT commit ‘online hate’ at some point in the FUTURE. Thought crime comes to Canada, courtesy of Justin Trudeau! George Orwell would be astonished that his fiction has become truth. These school boards should not be blaming THEIR failings on social media. No doubt this nonsense is some by-product of woke idiocy.


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