Headline RoundupJune 17th, 2024

Surgeon General Calls For Warning Labels and Tighter Restrictions on Social Media

Summary from the AllSides News Team

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called on Congress to pass legislation requiring social media companies to feature a Surgeon General’s warning on their platforms.

The Details: Murthy stated his position in an essay for The New York Times Opinion (Left bias) citing the potential harm social media use can cause young people, particularly teenagers. The label would be similar to labels placed on products like tobacco, which Murthy noted can “increase awareness and change behavior.” Murthy also suggested legislative reforms that would restrict collecting “sensitive data” from children and addictive features like infinite scrolling or autoplay.

For Context: Murthy has been the Surgeon General since 2014, previously working under both the Obama and Trump administrations.

Key Passage: Murthy wrote: “The mental health crisis among young people is an emergency — and social media has emerged as an important contributor. Adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of anxiety and depression symptoms, and the average daily use in this age group, as of the summer of 2023, was 4.8 hours. Additionally, nearly half of adolescents say social media makes them feel worse about their bodies.”

How The Media Covered It: Forbes (Center bias) noted that both parties have expressed concerns about teenage social media use previously, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who in January accused tech executives of having “blood on (their) hands.” Fox Business (Lean Right bias) wrote that “legislation would be required on both the federal and state levels.”

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