Open Letter to Meta and Tiktok

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Chew,

We are writing on behalf of 3.5 million ParentsTogether members across the United States, many of whom struggle with the risks and harms your platforms have imposed on unwitting  children and families – anxiety and depression, cyberbullying, sexual predators, disordered eating, dangerous challenges, access to drugs, addiction to your platforms, and more – every single day. We are disappointed and horrified by the documents that surfaced during a recent lawsuit filing that shows that you knew! Meta and ByteDance were clearly aware of the incredible danger and irreparable harm your products pose to children, and instead of protecting your most vulnerable users, you abdicated your responsibility to fix your products to make them safe. 

As parents, we teach our children that their actions and choices have consequences. So do yours. You have chosen to conduct a national experiment on our children. You have chosen your profits, your stockholders, and your company over children’s health, safety, and even lives over and over again. Those actions have real, devastating consequences for children, parents, and families. Parents tell us all the time exactly what those consequences are:

  • A 10-year-old girl accidentally choked to death in her bedroom, just feet away from her mother, because you allowed dangerous challenges like the “blackout game” to spread unimpeded, despite knowing children are extremely susceptible to them.
  • A young Black girl was photoshopped into an image where she was being lynched by the KKK and threatened with violence on your platforms because you decided protecting the mental health and wellbeing of kids wasn’t worth the money.
  • A child cries “almost constantly” because the photos and videos of her peers on your platforms make her feel left out and not good enough, because you created a culture that shows impossible expectations as reality.
  • A 15-year-old boy died from suicide hours after a sexual predator blackmailed him over explicit images on your platform, because you have created a playground for those seeking to abuse and exploit children.
  • An 11-year-old boy has fallen behind in school, withdrawn from his friends, and fights regularly with his mother because he is so engaged with his phone, he can’t put it down – just like you intended. 
  • A teenage girl was hospitalized with a near-fatal eating disorder because she couldn’t turn off the endless scroll of heavily filtered and photoshopped images you served her to keep her engaged. 

It’s outrageous that you have made the business decision to sacrifice our children’s well-being, and in too many cases, their actual lives, to make your companies – some of the richest in the world – even more profit. You are devastating children and families with your irresponsible decisions. We have stood outside of your company doors with families who have suffered the worst consequences of your platforms, literally begging to be heard. We remain willing and able to bring you together with families who have been devastated by the consequences of your business models.