The Morning After: US Surgeon General says social media needs warning labels like cigarettes


The US Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, says social media should come with warning labels, writing in The New York Times that social media is an “important contributor” to the teen mental health crisis. Last year, he issued an advisory making similar arguments, saying social media posed a “profound risk” to teen mental health. In his latest op-ed, Murthy cited a study showing higher social media use was associated with an increased risk of anxiety and depression, as well as a survey where almost half of teens reported “social media makes them feel worse about their bodies.”

He also noted warning labels alone wouldn’t make social media safer — I mean, people still smoke — but would help better inform everyone. “There is no seatbelt for parents to click, no helmet to snap in place… there are just parents and their children, trying to figure it out on their own, pitted against some of the best product engineers and most well-resourced companies in the world.”

He’ll need support from Congress to make this happen, however. Cooperation in US politics has not been common this decade. However, there has been recent bipartisan support to curtail tech companies’ powers — look at the TikTok saga.

— Mat Smith

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