INCOMPLETE: Biden Surgeon General Covers Social Media Harms—Ignores Censorship

Biden’s Department of Health and Human Services released a 2023 advisory covering social media’s harms for young people, but never mentioned social media’s harms to free speech.

The advisory from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is titled “Social Media and Youth Mental Health.” The advisory never mentions censorship, though censorship can have widespread health impacts, as happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Murthy’s woke advisory does, however, whine about supposed “hate-based” content. It also approvingly states social media can affirm “racial, ethnic, and sexual and gender minorities” who are allegedly “marginalized.”

“The Biden administration cannot be taken seriously on this issue,” said MRC Free Speech America & MRC Business Director Michael Morris. “Just a few short weeks ago, Biden enlisted social media influencers across the spectrum of Big Tech platforms — including communist Chinese government-tied TikTok — to propagandize to the youth in America. Murthy’s alleged concern simply reeks of hypocrisy.”

Indeed, Murthy’s concern rings hollow. A lawsuit from Missouri and Louisiana attorneys general alleges that HHS itself has colluded with Big Tech companies to censor free speech.

Censorship has impacted millions of Americans, either directly or through secondhand censorship, including young people. For instance, MRC Free Speech America found a total of 396,571,484 times that users have been harmed through the muzzling tactics used by Big Tech platforms in the first quarter of 2023. In fact, the year 2023 is off to a much worse start than most of 2022. Where is Murthy’s concern on this crucial issue?

Murthy apparently could not refrain from fixating on identity politics in his advisory. “Additionally, roughly two-thirds (64%) of adolescents are ‘often’ or ‘sometimes’ exposed to hate-based content,” Murthy claimed. “Among adolescent girls of color, one-third or more report exposure to racist content or language on social media platforms at least monthly.”

He also announced, “social media may support the mental health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, transgender, queer, intersex and other youths.” But Murthy has nothing to say about conservatives or free speech advocates censored and suppressed online.

Censorship can have real-world health impacts. In a July 2022 public advisory, “Confronting Health Misinformation,” Murthy seemingly endorsed censorship when he declared he was “urging all Americans to help slow the spread of health misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

Big Tech heavily censored COVID-19 content, partly due to government pressure. According to the Twitter Files, some of the content that was censored not only turned out to be true in retrospect, but was admittedly determined to be true by the very groups involved in suppressing the content.

The Biden administration is hypocritical anyway. The communist Chinese government-tied TikTok  is designed to be addictive, to feed kids harmful content and is the most popular social media app for young Americans. It’s also potential spyware, as revealed by Forbes and a whistleblower brought forward by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO). Yet the Biden administration brought TikTok stars onto Joe Biden’s 2024 campaign. And now Biden’s Surgeon General is supposedly worried about social media’s harms?

By ignoring censorship in his recent advisory, Murthy leaves the advisory insincere and incomplete.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact the HHS here and demand Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on so-called hate speech and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the CensorTrack contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.



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