New York City declares social media a public health threat

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Wednesday, January 24, 2024
What shape is New York City in?
N.J. Burkett has more on Mayor Adams' State of the City address.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams delivered his State of the City address Wednesday, announcing the Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan has declared social media a public health threat.

With teen mental health issues on the rise, the mayor called on state and federal lawmakers to do more to curb some allegedly predatory practices of certain social media companies.

"We need to protect our students from harm online, including the growing dangers presented by social media. Companies like TikTok, YouTube, and Facebook are fueling a mental health crisis by designing their platforms with addictive and dangerous features. We cannot stand by and let Big Tech monetize our children's privacy and jeopardize their mental health," said Mayor Adams.

The mayor called on state and federal lawmakers to do more to curb alleged predatory practices of social media companies.

Vasan issued a Health Commissioner's Advisory, officially designating social media as a public health hazard in New York City.

"We are the first major American city to take this step and call out the danger of social media like this. Just as the surgeon general did with tobacco and guns, we are treating social media like other public health hazards and ensuring that tech companies take responsibility for their products," Adams said.

In the address, delivered at Hostos Community College's Hostos Center for the Arts & Culture in the Bronx, Adams also discussed public safety, green initiatives and affordable housing.

The overall tone of the address was positive and hopeful.

"The state of our city is strong - far stronger than it was when we came into office," Adams said. "New York City is becoming a place where everyone has the opportunity to make it, and the future-focused vision we laid out today will build on all that we have delivered for New Yorkers by investing in public safety, public spaces, and the working people who make New York City the greatest city in the world."

WATCH | Dr. Ashwin Vasan explains why social media can be a public health hazard

Dr. Ashwin Vasan explains why social media can be a public health hazard.

Nonetheless, Adams recognized there is still work to be done.

"Our city has gotten safer, but we need people to feel safe too," Adams said.

However, many New Yorkers are not pleased with the work of the Adams administration thus far.

A rally was held outside of the address, with protesters speaking out against the mayor's policing policies, including his video of the How Many Stops Act, which would require police to document every interaction they have with the public.

Eyewitness News reporter N.J. Burkett has more on the demonstrations.

NJ Burkett reports.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul presented a united front in response to Adam's State of the City address Wednesday.

"Mayor Adams outlined a set of bold ideas that will advance our shared vision of a more affordable, more livable and safer New York," Hochul said. "The Mayor and I are both united in the fight to solve our affordability crisis by increasing the housing supply. As Mayor Adams said today: the City wants more housing - it's time to let them build! I've committed to fight for legislative changes in Albany that will allow him to do just that."

ALSO READ | Stalemate at City Hall after Mayor Eric Adams' veto of police stop legislation


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