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Canadian school boards sue social media giants for over C$4 billion in damages

FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows Meta and Facebook logos

(Corrects to Canadian dollar from US dollar in headline, paragraph 1)

(Reuters) - Four Canadian school boards have sought more than C$4 billion ($2.96 billion) in damages from social media firms such as Meta Platforms and Snap in a lawsuit, alleging that their products harmed students.

The products are "negligently designed for compulsive use, have rewired the way children think, behave and learn", a joint statement by the boards said on Thursday.

That has caused learning and mental health crises in students, resulting in the schools having to invest more in support programs, they said.

Several studies have shown that platforms like Facebook and Instagram can be addictive and their prolonged use can lead to anxiety and depression.

Thirty-three U.S. states had last year sued Meta, accusing its product cause mental health issues among young children and teenagers.

The Canadian lawsuit has also named TikTok, the short-video social media platform from China's ByteDance.

The action has been brought on by Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.

More than 1,000 schools are affiliated to the boards. Toronto-based law firm Neinstein LLP is representing them.

(This story has been corrected to change from the US dollar to the Canadian dollar, in the headline and in paragraph 1)

($1 = 1.3535 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Yuvraj Malik in Bengaluru;Editing by Arun Koyyur)