Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

A warning label for social media platforms?!

On 17 June 2024, the “U.S. surgeon general called for a warning label on social media platforms that says they may damage teens’ mental health” (NYT). It seems to become a bipartisan issue: “Social media needs more than a warning label” (WE). In my view, adults are even at more risk than teens.

Obviously, a warning label might be like a “forbidden fruit” and will thus attract even more attention from adults and teens. Moreover, which social media platforms deserve such a label? Which do not?? In my view, all social media platforms deserve such a warning.

I suppose that all politicians depend on those platforms (eg, publicity). Hence, a warning label may never ever happen, unless there would – suddenly – be bipartisan support against such a platform – or its owner, like Meta Platforms by Mark Zuckerberg, and/or Twitter/X by Elon Musk.

For some time, I have been contemplating about a ban on social media platforms. It will never happen; see reasons above. Nevertheless, all social media platforms are writing divisive opinions rather than (news) facts. I suppose that neutral reporting does not earn profits.

Would a warning label be a surrogate for a ban? I suppose that the tobacco industry will realise that the current warning label may well indicate a future banning. In my view, news is like a virus; see my related blogs of 2022-06 and 2022-07. Nothing really helps against viruses.

It’s tempting to instruct social media platforms to use expertise, independence, objectivity, and professionalism. These are criteria for auditors. However, even auditors regularly fail to comply. Social media platforms will (immediately) appeal for freedom of speech – and win.

So, the ultimate question is this one: what is worse, divisive opinions OR freedom of speech?? Autocrats know the answer, while I do not.

Warning (2021) by Morgan Wallen
artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-artist, Wiki-album, Wiki-song

[Chorus]
Should’ve come with a warnin’ (Ooh)
Don’t sit right there, don’t sip on what they’re pourin’ (You)
Her kiss is gonna kill you in the mornin’

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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