Snap and Meta have been sued by an Oregon mother who claims her daughter became a violent addict to cell phones. Her child has had several psychiatric admissions and developed an eating disorder.

Brittney Doffing claims her daughter was an intelligent teenager. She bought her a smartphone on her 14th birthday, March 2020 to keep her connected with her friends in the pandemic.  

According to KOIN, “It was very quick.”

“Whenever I tried to get the phone she would be very violent and verbal with me with her sisters. She would destroy the phones so I could not review their content.

Doffing is suing the parent companies of Snapchat and Instagram with the help of the Social Media Victims Law Center. This lawsuit was filed in Oregon’s US District Court on Thursday.

The revelation comes months after The Wall Street Journal was exposed to leaked research showing that Instagram had warned girls about the dangers of Instagram for their bodies. According to an internal report, 13 per cent of British and 6 per cent of American teens reported feeling suicidal.

Meta and Snap are accused in Doffing’s product liability suit of knowing that their product is dangerous when it’s used as intended, and failing to inform users about the consequences. The lawsuit also alleges that the social media platforms allowed Doffing’s daughter to be’sexually exploited and solicited’ by failing prevent older anonymous users from reaching out to children via the apps.

Doffing filed the lawsuit on the same day that Meta and Snap were sued. Another mother also filed suit for wrongful death against Snap, Meta, and accused them of causing her daughter’s July suicide.

Brittney Doffing says her daughter was a well-adjusted teenager until she caved and bought her a smartphone for her 14th birthday in March 2020

Brittney Doffing claims her daughter was well-adjusted until her mother bought her a phone for her 14th Birthday in March 2020.

She filed a federal lawsuit against Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, and Snap, which owns Snapchat, seeking unspecified punitive and compensatory damages

Meta, the owner of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, filed a federal suit against her seeking unspecified punitive or compensatory damages.

Doffing says her daughter would become physially abusive when the phone was pried away from her. Above, a protest against illicit drug availability on Snapchat near the Snap, Inc. headquarters in Santa Monica on Friday

Doffing claims that her daughter will become physically abusive if the phone is taken from her. Above, protests against illegal drug access on Snapchat.

That lawsuit, also led by the Social Media Victims Law Center, alleges that 11-year-old Selena Rodriguez of Enfield, Connecticut was also addicted to social media and would run away from home to use it when her parents prevented her from accessing the sites, according to the Washington Post. 

Doffing said that M.K. her daughter was an extremely happy child only a few years back. 

Ashland, which is located 19 mi away from the California border in Oregon, is where she lives.

“She played volleyball. She participated in track. Basketball was her sport. She did drama. Doffing explained to KOIN that she meant, “She was quite outgoing.” 

“Her birthday was approaching and she really wanted a phone. I was really nervous about getting one for her, and then she broke down. She lost all contact with everyone through school, and cell phones were how many of her friends communicated.

According to the 31-page complaint, Doffing’s daughter was hospitalized two times for psychotic episodes that were triggered when her mother tried to steal her cell phone. 

Additionally, she has an eating disorder and engages in binge-eating. 

Doffing’s daughter even attempted to escape her family so that she could access the apps.

'Anytime I try to take the phone, she would get very physical, violent, verbal with me, with her sisters. She would smash the phones so that I couldn't review the content,' Doffing said

“Whenever I tried to get the phone, she would be very violent and verbal with me with her sisters. Doffing stated that she would destroy the phones to prevent me from reviewing the contents.

According to the lawsuit, Meta and Snap are accused of deliberately designing their products to become addictive. Snapchat is compared to a machine that pays out in a lot. Snapchat’s marketing strategy targets teens who will be more likely to fall prey to Snap’s variable rewards and reminder system.

Companies are also criticised for failing to stop minors from using the app.

“Defendants designed Instagram and Snapchat as a nuisance to minor users, but did not exercise the ordinary care due to business invitees to stop the rampant solicitation and harassment of girls under age by anonymous older users. They also mass-message underage users in the hope of sexually exploiting them.

Doffing said to KOIN she has seen adult messages sent by her teen girl on these platforms.

Doffing explained that in her accounts, there are grown women and men named Sugar Daddies and Sugar Mama accounts which send money. I have one screenshot showing the person asking if they would send $2500 to her.

Doffing's lawsuit states that her daughter has tried to run away and has engaged in self-harm due to her social media addiction

Doffing’s suit states that Doffing’s daughter attempted to run and engaged in self-harm because of her social media addiction.

Doffing and her lawyer also pointed out that adolescents’ brains were not developed fully and that they are susceptible to being manipulated by programming to maximize their attention.  

‘The algorithms in Defendants’ social media products exploit minor users diminished decision-making capacity, impulse control, emotional maturity, and psychological resiliency caused by users’ incomplete brain development. 

‘Defendants know, or in the exercise of reasonable care should know, that because their minor users’ frontal lobes are not fully developed, such users are much more likely to sustain serious physical and psychological harm through their social media use than adult users. The suit says that Defendants failed to provide any safeguards for minor users to address and improve their psychosocial maturity. reached out to Snap, Inc. and Meta but did not receive a response.

Matthew Bergman, Attorney at the Social Media Victims Law Center, says that he and Doffing “are in for an extremely long and difficult battle” and they are not seeking compensation for the loss of their relationship.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook has been under intense scrutiny for its impact on young people. In 2011, Frances Haugen (an ex-employe) leaked a number of documents from within Facebook to The Wall Street Journal. They were published in The Facebook Files. 

In March 2020, one message was posted to an internal message board that stated that Instagram makes 32 percent of girls feel worse about their bodies than they do about their insecurities.   

Facebook parent company Meta has faced intense scrutiny over its effect on young people since former employee Frances Haugen (above) leaked a series of internal documents to the Wall Street Journal last year

Facebook parent company Meta faces intense scrutiny about its impact on young people after Frances Haugen (above), a former employee, leaked a number of documents internal to the Wall Street Journal in 2013.

A 2019 slide also stated that ‘We make body issues worse for one third of teen girls.  

“Teens blame Instagram” for increasing anxiety and depression rates. This response was consistent in all groups and came without prompting. 

A second presentation showed that 13 percent of British teens felt suicidal and only 6 percent of American teenagers traced their feelings of suicidal thoughts to Instagram.  

This research confirms what’s been known for many years: Instagram can damage a person’s body image especially when they are young. It also proves that Facebook management was aware of this and actively researched it.  

The latest scandal in a series of Facebook scandals. It was revealed that Facebook had an exempted whitelist of politicians, celebrities and influencers because they were so popular. 

A presentation viewed by Facebook employees found that among teens who felt suicidal, 13 percent of British users and 6 percent of American users traced their suicidal feelings to Instagram.

An employee of Facebook viewed a presentation that showed that 13 percent of British teens felt suicidal and only 6 percent of American teens attributed their feelings of suicidal feeling to Instagram.

On Tuesday, critics compared the site with tobacco companies that ignored scientific evidence to harm young people for profit. 

Other people claim the company is intentionally hiding vital research because it has complete control over youth and social media. 

Slides also showed that younger users have moved from Facebook to Instagram. 

40 percent of Instagram’s 1billion monthly subscribers are younger than 22 years old, and only half of them are women. 

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook has been silent about the problems the app causes among girls in the past. 

In March 2021, he told Congress that Instagram had ‘positive mental health benefits’. 

Instagram offers a “parental guide” that teaches parents how they can monitor their children’s accounts. It allows them to enable features such as screen time limits or commenting on posts. However, it is impossible to determine someone’s age prior to joining the site. 

Instagram says it accepts only users 13 years old and older, but many people lie when they sign up. 

Instagram doesn’t flag photos or images that might have been misinterpreted or altered, regardless of flagging material it considers contains paid advertising or political posts.  

Age 13 or older was the age group that reported being negatively affected by the app.  

Zuckerberg also announced plans for a product that will be available to children as young as 13 years old. 

It would be safe. He stated this to Congress, and then replied that he believes the answer is “yes” when asked about the safety of the product.  

Facebook has never shared this research. 

When asked by Senators for information about its products’ effects on young girls in August, the company replied with a letter: “We don’t know if there is a consensus among experts or studies regarding how much screen-time is too much.” 

Senator Richard Blumenthal told the Journal that Facebook’s answers were vague which raised questions that it was deliberately hiding the research. 

“Facebook’s responses were so vague – they failed to answer all of our questions – that it really raised questions about the possible hiding places Facebook may be using.

Facebook is taking cues from Big Tobacco, targeting teenagers with potentially hazardous products while hiding the science.