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CA Judge Likens Social Media to Big Tobacco

In a concerning development in the litigation against Meta Inc., U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers recently compared that litigation to the landmark case against the tobacco industry from a generation ago.  The judge appears likely to deny Meta’s motion to dismiss the sprawling multi-district litigation seeking to hold the company liable for failure to warn consumers about the addictive nature of social media platforms, including Instagram and Facebook.

History makes clear that litigation driven by the profit-seeking plaintiffs’ bar is not the way to resolve public health concerns. Regulators, public health officials and those accountable to the public should be responsible for implementing effective solutions to address any such problems. It requires informed action and the prioritization of public safety and health. And it is important to recognize that lawmakers and officials must protect and balance individual rights and the broader public interest without providing a windfall of legal fees for trial lawyers.

As we have seen most recently with the opioid litigation, litigation can actually delay resolution and likely will do little to help those in need, while the plaintiffs’ lawyers will walk away with millions of dollars in fees. There is no reason to think this litigation will be any different.  Those in positions of leadership and public accountability must act in the public interest.  It should not be left to the courts to do so in cases driven by profit-seeking lawyers.

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