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Social Media Report 2024

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Photo by Tracy Le Blanc on Pexels.com


This document provides news about the current state of social media including concerns about its use.

In May 2023, the Surgeon General began proposing a safety warning for social media. [Source] That warning is in the news again in June 2024 with a proposal that it be issued alongside of the websites of concern: “Social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents.”

Anna Lembke, the Medical Director of Addition Medicine at Stanford University, stated in July 2023: “Social media has essentially taken human connection and turned it into a drug by distilling it down to the essential properties that make something addictive.” [Source]

A $300 million NIH study in 2018 using MRI brain analysis revealed that dopamine is released during social media use, making it addictive. [Source]

A former Facebook executive admits, “We kind of knew that something bad could happen.” That executive says he now has tremendous guilt about the social network he helped build. [Source]

Another former Facebook employee anonymously filed complaints with federal law enforcement stating that “Facebook’s own research shows that it amplifies hate, misinformation, and political unrest, but the company hides what it knows. One complaint alleges that Facebook’s Instagram harms teenage girls.” [Source: 60 Minutes, 3 Oct 2021]

From what is reported to be a Facebook internal document, the following statement is made: “We have evidence from a variety of sources that hate speech, divisive political speech, and misinformation on Facebook and the family of apps are affecting societies around the world.” [Source: 60 Minutes, 3 Oct 2021]

The videos below expand on these summary insights.

For additional context and background see Social Media Report 2022 and Social Media Report 2023.


CBS (18 Jun 2024)

“Mom reacts to proposed social media warning labels” — A mother shares her struggles with her teens’ social media habits, as the surgeon general proposes warning labels to combat associated mental health risks. Experts talk to Anna Werner, weighing in on the impact and potential solutions. [Source]

Good Morning America (18 Jun 2024)

“Dr. Vivek Murthy advises social media health warning for adolescence” — U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is calling for digital warning labels on social media platforms for younger users in an attempt to protect mental health. [Source]

The View (18 Jun 2024)

“Surgeon General Calls For Social Media Warnings” — With U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy sounding the alarm bells about the hazardous impact of social media, The View co-hosts discuss. [Source]

CNN (17 Jun 2024)

“Why surgeon general isn’t letting his kids use social media until high school” — CNN’s Erin Burnett talks to Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy about the risks of social media and phone use in children, and what his plan is with his own kids. [Source]

Dr. Vivek Murthy – NY Times (17 Jun 2024)

“One of the most important lessons I learned in medical school was that in an emergency, you don’t have the luxury to wait for perfect information. You assess the available facts, you use your best judgment, and you act quickly. The mental health crisis among young people is an emergency — and social media has emerged as an important contributor. Adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of anxiety and depression symptoms, and the average daily use in this age group, as of the summer of 2023, was 4.8 hours. Additionally, nearly half of adolescents say social media makes them feel worse about their bodies. It is time to require a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms, stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents. A surgeon general’s warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and adolescents that social media has not been proved safe. Evidence from tobacco studies show that warning labels can increase awareness and change behavior.” [Full Article]

Ellen Barry and Cecilia Kang – NY Times (17 Jun 2024)

“The U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, announced on Monday that he would push for a warning label on social media platforms advising parents that using the platforms might damage adolescents’ mental health. Warning labels — like those that appear on tobacco and alcohol products — are one of the most powerful tools available to the nation’s top health official, but Dr. Murthy cannot unilaterally require them; the action requires approval by Congress. The proposal builds on several years of escalating warnings from the surgeon general. In a May 2023 advisory, he recommended that parents immediately set limits on phone use, and urged Congress to swiftly develop health and safety standards for technology platforms.” [Full Article]

Today (20 Oct 2023)

“Teens open up about the impact of social media on their lives” — Social media can have negative, sometimes dire, impacts on teens’ physical and mental health. NBC’s Kate Snow sits with four teens to learn about their social media usage and then Dr. Argie Allen Wilson, a family therapist, and Larissa May, a digital wellness activist, field questions from a panel of parents. [Source]

Washington Post (14 Jul 2023)

“Why scrolling on social media is addictive” — Scrolling through social media can be addictive in similar ways to cocaine or alcohol. And it’s contributing to a growing mental health crisis among youths. [Source]

Today (23 May 2023)

“Surgeon General warns of social media danger to mental health” — Surgeon General Vivek Murthy discusses his new advisory warning about the potential harm social media has on young people’s mental health. “We see rates of depression and anxiety and suicide and loneliness going up among people and I’m concerned that social media is an important driver of that youth mental health crisis. We’re issuing this advisory to sound the alarm.” NBC’s Hallie Jackson reports for TODAY. [Source]

NBC (16 Mar 2023)

“Teens Under Pressure: Mental Health & Social Media” — We are facing a serious mental health crisis with teens under pressure like never before. In this NBC News Now Special we provide insight beyond the statistics by examining the causes of this crisis, what role social media is playing and what can be done to help young people. In “Teens Under Pressure: Mental Health & Social Media”, Savannah Sellers talks to a group of teens from Fairfax County, Virginia and speaks with the Education Secretary and Surgeon General who says, “youth mental health is a full-blown crisis in our country right now” and that better enforcement of social media age restrictions is needed. [Source]

Bloomberg Talk (3 Jun 2022)

“Why This Facebook Whistleblower Is Skeptical of Meta’s Recovery” — Emma Barnett meets data scientist and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen to discuss what compelled her to go public, how she believes Facebook algorithms promote hate speech in fragile countries and push teens to harmful content on Instagram and whether Mark Zuckerberg should leave the company. Interview recorded on May 17, 2022. [Source]

60 Minutes (3 Oct 2021)

“Facebook Whistleblower Frances Haugen: The 60 Minutes Interview” — Frances Haugen says in her time with Facebook she saw, “conflicts of interest between what was good for the public and what was good for Facebook.” Scott Pelley reports. [Source]

CBS (29 Sep 2021)

“Overuse of social media can impact mental health” — Facebook announced it will pause development of its Instagram Kids program, aimed children under the age of 13 after the Wall Street Journal reported that the company’s internal research found young people, particularly teenage girls,feel the negative affects of social media more. Derek Thompson, a journalist for The Atlantic, joined CBSN to discuss Instagram Kids and his piece comparing social media overuse to alcohol addiction. [Source]

CBS (10 Dec 2018)

“NIH study tracks effects of social media on adolescent brains” — New research aimed at understanding the impact of social media on adolescent brains is already showing fascinating results. The National Institutes of Health study is following more than 11,000 children over a decade. Anderson Cooper spoke to the researchers for Sunday’s “60 Minutes.” Psychologist and CBS News contributor Lisa Damour joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss the study. [Source]

CBS (12 Dec 2017)

“Former Facebook executive warns of social media dangers” — Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive once in charge of user growth, says he has “tremendous guilt” about the social network he helped build. He’s not the only social media executive blowing the whistle. Carter Evans reports. [Source]

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com