Commenting on the Molly Russell inquest, Eleanor Leedham, Legal Director, explores whether a group action can be built against social media companies for failing to prevent users from viewing harmful content.
Eleanor’s comments were published in the Daily Mail print edition, 1 October 2022, on page 12.
“The inquest’s verdict, although not binding on courts, robustly supports further legal action against Meta and should serve as a stark warning to other technology giants that they will be held to account for their actions or inactions.
“Meta is one of the wealthiest and most dominant companies in the world. It has long been maintained that social media platforms be subject to a formal legal duty of care to prevent vulnerable users from viewing harmful content. This is soon to be enshrined when the Online Safety Bill becomes law, as promised by the new Prime Minster.
“Once a breach of a duty of care has been established, any civil claim in the UK would need to show demonstrable quantifiable damage. Subject to this, there is no reason why a group claim could not be built. If social media companies fail to take substantive action to prevent users from viewing harmful content, then users and lawyers will step in to force change through litigation.“