Background & Statement: AG Torrez Statement Regarding U.S. Surgeon General Calling for Social Media Warning Labels

This morning U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a call to require a warning label “stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents.” Today’s action comes on the heels of the Surgeon General’s 2023 Social Media and Youth Mental Health Advisory that highlighted the connection between prolonged use of social media and increased rates of anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Surgeon General Murthy’s call to action harkens back to earlier public health campaigns that helped educate parents and policymakers about the dangers associated with smoking. It also sheds light on the urgent need for strengthening the regulatory framework for technology that has been linked to specific harms to children.

“There is no seatbelt for parents to click, no helmet to snap in place, no assurance that trusted experts have investigated and ensured that these platforms are safe for our kids. 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,” said Surgeon General Murthy. 

Murthy’s recommendation for warning labels on social media applications highlights the same issues identified in the New Mexico Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Meta and Attorney General Torrez stands in strong support of this common sense approach to raising awareness about the dangers associated with adolescent use of social media platforms.

“People assume that social media apps that are freely available on mobile devices are safe to use but we know that they aren’t. Until these companies change the way they do business and place a premium on the safety of their users, parents should be given explicit warnings about the risk of child exploitation and the devastating impact that these products have on the mental health of children and adolescents,” said Attorney General Torrez.

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