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If the government has a responsibility to add warnings to products that might be detrimental to society, such as cigarettes, does it have a responsibility to add warnings to products such as social media platforms?

Social media has a dark side.

We have already seen reports about the loneliness social media can produce, the impact of online or cyber bullying on young people, and the threat of privacy breaches.

And most recently, in New Zealand, the perpetrator of a mass shooting was specifically seeking social media notoriety.

Regulation or policing social media as a result could prove difficult and simultaneously erode the the positive effects of these platforms.

Ben Maynard, of OneZero, suggests looking at another industry whose dark side was exposed and changed as a result of a variety of communication tactics.

Once upon a time, nearly 50% of U.S. adults smoked. As years passed, that number has dropped to 15%. People became more aware of the health implications not only through government warnings on packages but also a variety of communications, messages and reports that government and health agencies produced and broadcast. The result: social pressure to smoke became social pressure to quit.

Do you think these tactics help improve our use of social media?

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