Guidance From Lawyers Who Care

Social media harms and personal injury lawsuits

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2023 | Personal Injury And Wrongful Death

As the dangers of social media become more and more apparent with each passing month, parents are becoming more aware of the harms that may have befallen their child specifically. And, Kansas City, Missouri, families are looking for ways to fight back.

Unfortunately, many are finding that a roadblock to that justice is Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. However, many are finding that a way around that barrier is personal injury lawsuits utilizing product liability.

Section 230

Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act was enacted to shield websites from what their users posted on their platforms. It has been credited with allowing social media to proliferate across the Internet. It also allows comment sections on websites.

Conversely, it has also been said to allow websites to allow harmful and hate-filled content to proliferate across the Internet as well since websites have no responsibility to police that content. This is the push and pull of Section 230.

Publisher vs. product maker

However, there is a distinction here between being a publisher who is protected by Section 230 and a product maker who has liability under product liability common law. Lawsuits that are finding success under product liability claims are arguing that the harms caused by social media stem from the algorithms themselves, not the posted content or the users themselves. This allows the lawsuits to proceed because it places the fault on the websites and turns the social media companies into product makers, not publishers shielded by Section 230.

The key here is that creative lawsuits can create pathways to justice that may not have existed in the past. But, you will need to contact a Jackson County lawyer to understand your options and review your specific situation.