SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Matthew P. Bergman, founder of Bergman Draper Oslund Udo, the Pacific Northwest’s premier mesothelioma law firm, today announced the launch of the Social Media Victims Law Center (SMVLC), www.socialmediavictims.org, as a legal resource for teenage victims suffering from depression, an eating disorder, hospitalization, sexual exploitation, self-harm or suicide as a result of social media cyberbullying.
SMVLC will utilize the principles of product liability to force social media companies to elevate the importance of consumer safety as part of their economic analysis; and to design safer platforms that protect children and young adults from cyberbullying by holding social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accountable for the harm they inflict on vulnerable users.
“Social media companies have been knowingly putting our children and young adults at risk in the name of profits and increased market share without the fear of legal repercussions for far too long,” Bergman said. “We believe jury verdicts on behalf of victims of social media cyberbullying will not only furnish the compensation they need and deserve but also incentivize social media companies to design safer products to avoid having to pay court awards in the future.”
Despite having just launched, SMVLC is already representing three victims of social media cyberbullying. Clients include parents and guardians of teens who have died by suicide as a result of social media use, attempted suicide, suffered eating disorders, severe depression and hospitalization or have been sexually exploited. What ties these cases together is the teen victim falling into a cycle of exponentially increasing social media usage that becomes addictive and subjects them to progressively more exploitive, abusive and demeaning contacts.
While government regulation plays an important role in curbing known abuses, only the civil justice system can force social media companies to act proactively to include consumer safety in the cost of production.
Recent news coverage has revealed that Facebook’s own internal data has linked the use of Instagram to suicidal thoughts, addiction and eating disorders in teens. Reporting in other sources has documented the ill effects of other social media platforms on teenage mental health and the misuse of social media by sexual predators to exploit vulnerable teens. For many families, these revelations have only confirmed the tragic effects they have already seen in their own children.
When Congress and government agencies fail to do what is right, parents can hold these companies responsible by seeking justice for the harm to their child through our legal system.
Social media cyberbullying victims can contact SMVLC at www.socialmediavictims.org or by calling 1-800-834-6994 for more information about legal resources available to them.
About Matthew P. Bergman
Matthew P. Bergman is an attorney, law professor, philanthropist and community activist who has recovered over $975 million on behalf of his clients. He is the founder of the Social Media Victims Law Center and Bergman Draper Oslund Udo; a professor at Lewis & Clark Law School and serves on the board of directors of nonprofit institutions in higher education, national security, civil rights, worker protection and the arts.
About the Social Media Victims Law Center
The Social Media Victims Law Center, www.socialmediavictims.org, was founded in 2021 to hold social media companies legally accountable for the harm they inflict on vulnerable users. SMVLC seeks to apply principles of product liability to force social media companies to elevate consumer safety to the forefront of their economic analysis and design safer platforms that protect users from foreseeable harm.