The digital divide in the United States is not an accident. It is the product of deliberate decisions by ISPs that have consistently prioritizing profit over people.
A multidistrict litigation effort seeks to hold social media behemoths accountable for perpetuating mental health harms. The case has important implications for the safety of our digital spaces and our legal system’s capacity for recognizing particular kinds of harms.
Warren describes how “kids are spending upwards of twelve hours a day on social media,” emphasizing that this number is “not an exaggerated statistic.”
As Chamallas implies, our legal system’s tendency to disregard or brush past mental health harms signals that these injuries are not “worthy of legal notice.”
As Weinstein observes, “we’re 25 years into the Internet, and there’s basically no regulation, and we’re now seeing real harms.”
In today’s world, Warren says, “hold[ing] on to the notion that products have to be . . . something you buy in a brick and mortar store and carry out in a shopping bag is ludicrous.”
Through the aggregation of individual cases, Campos says, plaintiffs “become a much more powerful entity.”
Any shift, however subtle, toward a greater amenability for claims involving emotional harms and nonpecuniary damages would be important and overdue.
Related Systemic Justice Project Resources
From The [F]law:
- Amer Mneimneh, Surveillance Advertising
- Diana Cao, Video Underground: How Corporations Capture Culture
- Shao Chang, Gig Economy and the Future of Work
- Amy Robinson, The Digital Divide is No Accident