US District Judge Rules in Favor of Zuckerberg’s Personal Immunity in Social Media Lawsuits

US District Judge dismisses Zuckerberg as individual defendant in lawsuits alleging social media addiction among children, permitting claims against Meta to proceed.

California, 16 April 2024: In a pivotal legal decision, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers ruled in favor of Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, dismissing him as a defendant in approximately two dozen lawsuits. These lawsuits, representing young individuals, alleged that Meta Platforms Inc. and other social media giants, including Facebook and Instagram, had been addicting children to their platforms.

The ruling, issued on Monday, absolves Zuckerberg of personal liability without affecting the ongoing claims against Meta as a corporation. Plaintiffs argued that Zuckerberg, despite being repeatedly warned about the platforms’ dangers for children, chose not to disclose these findings publicly.

US District Judge Rules in Favor of Zuckerberg's Personal Immunity in Social Media Lawsuits
US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers

Key to the ruling was the absence of a “special relationship” between Zuckerberg and Meta’s users, as emphasized by Judge Rogers. She stated that without such a relationship, Zuckerberg wasn’t obligated to disclose safety information. Furthermore, the judge rejected the idea of holding Zuckerberg personally liable solely based on his public persona, arguing it would set a troubling precedent.

While the dismissal of Zuckerberg as an individual defendant represents a setback for the plaintiffs, they are permitted to amend and refile their complaints. This decision comes amidst a broader legal battle involving over 1,000 lawsuits against Meta, Google, TikTok, and Snapchat.

The ongoing litigation, initiated by children alleging addiction to social media platforms, seeks damages and policy changes. States and school districts have also joined the legal action against Meta, further complicating its legal landscape. Meta has declined to comment, maintaining its denial of any wrongdoing.

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