The idea that social media platforms pose threats to pre-teens and teenagers and that government regulators should do more to mitigate those threats has long been an accepted idea in many academic and activist circles. But that idea now appears to be gaining traction in the business community as well.
A stunning 100 percent of large-company CEOs polled on Tuesday at a summit of F100 chief executives and political leaders convened by Yale University said that social media platforms posed a threat to pre-teens and teens on critical behaviors like confidence and body image.
- None of the 50 or so CEOs polled—who represented some of the world’s largest corporations outside of Silicon Valley—said the platforms posed “no threat” or were “neutral/indifferent.”
- An overwhelming 88 percent said they disagreed with the statement “I have confidence in the ability and judgment of social media companies in content moderation and policing.”
- Asked if the government should “intervene in the practices of social media giants to mitigate the threats presented to pre-teens and teenagers,” 80 percent of the CEOs polled said “yes.”
The poll is a clear sign of how mainstream the idea that social media platforms—especially Facebook—now pose a threat to children and adolescents has become. In the past, said Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, CEO of Yale’s Chief Executive Leadership Institute, who convened the Summit, there was a sense among business leaders that the tech companies would be able to fix themselves, but now, CEOs appear to believe the problems have slipped beyond the control of the technologists.
“There was an incredible bi-partisan, cross-industry concern and a recommendation for government intervention when it comes to social media,” Sonnenfeld said of Tuesday’s polling. “These are not campus theorists or journalists. These are highly pragmatic business problem solvers.”