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Zuckerberg Wants Out of Lawsuit Over Addictive Algorithms

On the heels of our least successful blog post ever, Should Social Media Companies Be Held Liable for Addictive Algorithms?, which for some strange reason initially achieved zero views in 48 hours on Facebook and X, and one month after we blew the lid off the engineered connection between social media addiction and mental illness, Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Meta Platforms, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has asked to be removed from a lawsuit for damages caused by Instagram addiction.

At a hearing in California on February 23, Zuckerberg argued that he shouldn’t be held personally responsible for his actions as CEO. The plaintiffs argue that Zuckerberg was made aware of the problems his algorithm causes for adolescents, but ignored them. Rachel Graf, reporting on the story for Bloomberg, notes:

Zuckerberg, the world’s fourth-richest person, has argued that he can’t be held personally responsible for actions at Meta just because he’s the CEO. His lawyers also claim that Zuckerberg didn’t have a duty to disclose the safety findings that were allegedly reported to him.

In a blockbuster report about more than 40 U.S. states suing Meta Platforms over intentionally-addictive apps, PBS News Hour‘s Stephanie Sy sums up the case: “State attorneys general argue that Facebook and Instagram deliberately manipulate their apps in ways that addict kids and teens and have failed to keep them off, despite age limits.” 

Concerning the harmful effects of social media addiction, the lawsuit specifies:

  • The “recommendation” algorithms are harmful to young users’ mental health, notwithstanding Meta’s representations to the contrary.
  • Meta’s use of social comparison features such as “Likes” also promotes compulsive use and mental health harms for young users.
  • Meta’s use of disruptive audiovisual and haptic notifications interferes with young users’ education and sleep.
  • Meta promotes platform features such as visual filters known to promote eating disorders and body dysmorphia in youth.

The decision of whether Mark Zuckerberg can escape personal liability for harmful practices, which he knew about and chose not to disclose, has not been handed down yet. At the hearing to exclude the CEO from personal liability in front of U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, Rachel Graf at Bloomberg notes:

Rogers appeared more sympathetic to plaintiffs’ arguments that Zuckerberg could be held liable for personally concealing information as a corporate officer at Meta, asking Zuckerberg’s lawyers how he avoids potential personal liability if there’s an understanding that Meta itself had a duty to disclose the safety information.

Stay tuned to AddictionNews for more breaking news about social media addiction, smartphone addiction, and breakthroughs in addiction treatment.

Written by Steve O’Keefe. First published February 28, 2024.


“Meta’s Zuckerberg Seeks Out of Lawsuits Blaming Him for Instagram Addiction,” Bloomberg via Yahoo!Finance, February 23, 2024.

“States suing Meta accuse company of manipulating its apps to make children addicted,” PBS News Hour, December 26, 2023.

“Case 4:23-cv-05448 Document 1,” U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, Filed October 24, 2023.

“Should Social Media Companies Be Held Liable for Addictive Algorithms?” AddictionNews, January 10, 2024.

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