Content control to help kids, not to chase fake ‘disinfo’


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While social media companies are busy policing fake “disinformation,” they’re letting truly harmful content spread. Witness the recent, tragic suicide of Adriana Kuch

The New Jersey 14-year-old took her own life after a video of her getting attacked by classmates blew up on TikTok and Snapchat and opened the floodgates for vicious digital bullying.

The video itself is brutal: an unprovoked assault by multiple kids on just one. How on earth was something that vile allowed to stay up and spread? In the words of Kuch’s distraught father, “It was like she was attacked twice.” 

Indeed, there’s a whole hideous subculture of such videos. They fuel further bullying and in some cases violent or even murderous gang beefs.

The madness has to stop. 

Days before taking her own life, a video showed Kuch being beaten with a water bottle in her school building.

One fix would be for social-media sites to impose tougher age restrictions. Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram all allow kids 13 and up. TikTok, insanely, lets under-13s on. Time to bump that higher, as Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has argued — and end any loopholes around age. 

Far more important: These companies need to do something other than posture about “harm.” They throw tantrums over forbidden political opinions, but shrug at teen violence and suicide. 

Social media has done untold harm to younger generations, but takes no responsibility. Tweens have plastic minds and extremely poor judgment — they’ll take their cues from anything that seems remotely popular. 

Schools, too, must step up. Admins and staff need to be aware of how the kids under their charge six hours a day, five days a week, are using tech. 

And when top brass screw up, they need to pay a real price. Superintendent Triantafillos Parlapanides incredibly tried to suggest Kuch’s death was her father’s fault after hand-waving the school’s utterly impotent response to the initial attack. He didn’t even call the police! Now the hideous consequences are clear. 

Bottom line: Kids, even as they head into adolescence, need to be protected. By their parents, by their schools and by the content farms that make money off their eyeballs. The results otherwise will only be more tragedy. 

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