Meta, TikTok Could Face Civil Liability for Addicting Children in California

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—Social-media companies such as Facebook parent Meta Platforms could be sued by government attorneys in California for features that allegedly harm children through addiction under a first-in-the-nation bill that cleared a crucial vote in the state Senate late Tuesday.

The measure would permit the state attorney general, local district attorneys and the city attorneys of California’s four largest cities to sue social-media companies including Meta—which also owns Instagram—as well as TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance Ltd., and Snap under the state’s law governing unfair business practices. The bill would allow lawsuits if a prosecutor believes a company employed features it knew or should have known would addict minors.