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Surgeon General’s Call for Social Media Warning Labels Is Misguided, Says ITIF

June 18, 2024

WASHINGTON—Following U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy’s call for mental health warning labels for social media, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, issued the following statement from Senior Policy Manager Ashley Johnson:

The Surgeon General’s remarks are a prime example of the ongoing tech panic surrounding social media. This familiar cycle has targeted countless technological developments over the centuries, from the novel to bicycles to video games, and almost always results in misguided regulation that addresses irrational fears instead of real issues.
While the Surgeon General argues that social media has not been proven safe for children, the opposite is also true: It has not been proven unsafe. There is no clear scientific consensus on the effects of social media use on children. Moreover, unlike tobacco, social media provides real benefits to children in the form of entertainment, education, and social connection.
Many parts of everyday life can prove either beneficial or detrimental to young people’s health, depending on an individual young person’s circumstances. Regulation should focus on mitigating the risks while emphasizing the benefits of social media use for young people.

Contact: Nicole Hinojosa, [email protected]


The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan research and educational institute focusing on the intersection of technological innovation and public policy. Recognized by its peers in the think tank community as the global center of excellence for science and technology policy, ITIF’s mission is to formulate and promote policy solutions that accelerate innovation and boost productivity to spur growth, opportunity, and progress.

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