New York City has designated social media as a ‘public health hazard’

New York City has officially become the first city in the United States to designate social media as a “public health threat.” During his speech on the state of the city, Mayor Eric Adams health commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said apps like Tik Tok and Instagram are considered “environmental toxins” that harm the environment. and teenagers. “We are committed to fixing this crisis that our children are facing,” Adams said .

The mayor explained that it exacerbates the growing mental health crisis in the city. This could be attributed to the addictive nature of these platforms, he added. , Adams wrote, “We will not allow Big Tech to endanger our children.” However, despite issuing an advisory warning, the city has not made clear how it plans to curb the “risk” of social media use. More details about these appointments and plans to implement the strategies will be explained in the near future.

During the June 2023 convention, NYC stakeholders together to discuss the possible consequences of social media use among young people and recommendations for addressing the problem. A big part of the drive to make social media safer for teens can come from increasing protocols that ensure better data transparency, experts say. Tech companies have been urged to improve algorithms and moderate harmful content from feeds. to work A bill passed in Congress last year puts the onus on tech companies to make their platforms safer for children, and it’s unclear how a state-owned initiative could logically solve a nationwide problem.

New York City could follow California’s lead and implement similar regulations limits the amount and type of information a technology company can collect from minor users. Although it doesn’t officially go into effect until July 2024, the Attorney General will be able to punish tech companies with civil payments if they don’t comply with the law. CAADCA relies on the success of the policies implemented . For example, its enactment encouraged TikTok and Instagram to disable direct messages between children and adults they don’t follow on social media.

While New York City’s measures to protect children online are still more sentiment than an actionable plan, any move to further restrict the way tech companies operate in the city could sour some relations with business leaders and officials. While Adams’ social media stance has been tough, it can also be seen as contradictory given that his administration has been technically quite compliant. For example, the Adams administration has openly embraced the application of AI in the city’s digital infrastructure. an AI-powered GPT program called (powered by Microsoft Azure’s artificial intelligence services) is open for New Yorkers to use to help residents find answers about how to run a business in the city. Adams’ office is also building an AI to make robocalls to residents .

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