Mike Masnick: ‘The Surgeon General Is Wrong; Social Media Doesn’t Need Warning Labels’

Mike Masnick, writing for The Daily Beast:

We put health warnings on things that are inherently harmful, with little redeeming health value. That is, things that are actually toxins: nicotine, lead, poisons.

The complaints here are with speech. [...]

The American Psychological Association released a similar report, concluding: “Using social media is not inherently beneficial or harmful to young people.” Instead, it finds that when young people struggle with mental health, their online lives are often just a reflection of their offline lives.

Lots of other research has shown the same thing, yet Murthy’s call for health warnings never mentions all of this research that suggests social media is actually beneficial for many. Instead, he cites a few anecdotes of children who were bullied online. But bullying happened prior to social media, and we did not talk about putting health warnings on telephones or notepads or other forms of communication.

Just pure panic-driven ninny-ism. It’s like the whole nonsense with “trigger warnings”. Masnick brings up Reagan-era Surgeon General C. Everett Koop’s nonsensical crusade against video games in the 1980s. I’m also reminded of Tipper Gore’s campaign for warning labels on music albums.

Wednesday, 19 June 2024