Surgeon General Advocates for Warning Labels on Social Media, and More Tech News

Words by
Jackie Baucom

JUN 20, 2024

Surgeon General Advocates for Warning Labels on Social Media, and More Tech News

This week’s roundup showcases the many ways AI is affecting our youth. Also, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy ruffled some feathers when he called on Congress to add warning labels to social media, similar to those found on tobacco products. 

Surgeon General Says Social Media Needs Warning Labels for Teen Safety

On Monday, June 17, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy urged Congress to mandate warning labels on social media, highlighting its significant mental health risks for teens.

He compared it to tobacco warnings, emphasizing awareness and behavioral change. 

Additionally, Murthy called for safety measures, transparency, and accountability to address the profound risks social media poses to youth mental health.

Surgeon General: Social Media Platforms Need a Health Warning | The New York Times

Instagram Recommends Sexual Videos to 13-Year-Olds

Tests by The Wall Street Journal reveal that Instagram regularly suggests sexual videos to teenage accounts within minutes of their initial login.

Despite Meta’s claims of providing a more age-appropriate experience by restricting sensitive content, the tests showed otherwise.

This finding underscores the urgent need for stricter content moderation and protective measures to ensure the online safety of minors.

Instagram Recommends Sexual Videos to Accounts for 13-Year-Olds, Tests Show | The Wall Street Journal

Kids are Being Used as Beta Testers for AI

This past spring, the Los Angeles Unified School District introduced Ed, an AI chatbot, to 100 schools.

Accessible 24/7, Ed answers questions on courses, grades, and attendance.

Superintendent Albert M. Carvalho emphasized AI’s growing inevitability and the need to learn safe usage instead of avoidance.

A Generation of AI Guinea Pigs | The Atlantic

Teen Victim of AI Cyber Exploitation Speaks Out

14-year-old Elliston Berry, a victim of AI cyber exploitation, shared her experience after discovering deepfake nude images of herself circulating on social media.

The scheme, orchestrated by a male classmate who used AI software to create the fake nudes, left Berry feeling shameful and fearful.

Lawmakers say 95% of deepfakes online are non-consensual intimate images, which has many backing the “Take it Down Act” in an effort to combat this type of exploitation.

14-year-old AI cyber exploitation victim speaks out about mortifying experience on social media | Fox News

Brainrot and Internet Addiction

“Brainrot” describes the condition of excessive internet use leading to a heavy reliance on online references and jargon.

The term, which has gained popularity, highlights the negative impacts of consuming low-value content.

Despite understanding its effects, many young people continue to engage in these behaviors, viewing it as a badge of honor.

If You Know What ‘Brainrot’ Means, You Might Already Have It | The New York Times

TikTok’s AI Avatars

TikTok introduced AI-generated avatars for advertising, allowing brands to create ads with customizable avatars.

These avatars can be set in various locations and speak multiple languages.

Some worry that the introduction of AI could blur the lines between organic content and advertising, potentially causing confusion among users.

The A.I. Influencer Ads Are Coming | The New York Times

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