Social Media Like Cigarettes, Says US AG

This Week: Just stop targeting kids, OK social? That’s the big story today. Also inside, some scary pattern matching as the creator economy approaches 20, a great move from Ludwig and much more. Oh, and everyone else already covered Apple, so I don’t have to.

Toxic for Kids: US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy urges the US government to slap stern warning labels on these platforms – like those already on alcohol and tobacco. This “profound risk” doubles anxiety and depression symptoms, and makes adolescents feel worse about their bodies and presumably themselves. We’ve been adamant about this issue for more than a year here at ICE, and it’s past time for real action. You might pooh-pooh simple labels, but it’s a start, as a similar label on tobacco, enacted in the mid-sixties – profoundly changed behavior. Read his guest essay in the NYT for more details ($).

New York State Will Ban Addictive Algorithms for Kids: States aren’t waiting around for the feds. A new restrictive law designed to protect kids from addictive social media will likely become law in the Empire State. How the platforms respond to this wide-ranging legislation – as more facts emerge, their options dwindle. Will your app automatically adjust when you cross state lines – or will this law, along similar ones being considered in California and the US overall, change social apps for everyone under 18. I hope for the latter, as preying on developing minds with addictive substances – whether physical or digital – is indefensible.

  • Related: Maybe we shouldn’t target anonymous apps at teens ($). When I chatted with the Fizz team last fall, they were focused on colleges and universities. Not sure why they decided to expand into high schools, but it’s not going well. I’m publicly calling for Rizz to ban their app for kids under 18 and at high-schools too.


Is Hollywood Ready for the $1,000 Blockbuster Movie? No, argues top VC Andrew Chen. The same structural issues that caused the entertainment industry to ignore or downplay creators will once again keep the entrenched entertainment industry from doing more than bolting AI onto existing workflows. My big concern? The 20-year-old creator economy is rapidly becoming part of that same entrenched entertainment industry. As new AI-powered genres and content formats emerge, I fear that nimble new startups and new-look creators will adapt first. It’s not just about better thumbnails and statistically regurgitated content concepts. We need to commit to embracing, expanding and re-inventing ourselves? Unfortunately, I worry that creator-incumbents will fall back on challenge videos and vlogging as the world erupts beneath around them. I’m an optimist and I believe in all of you! But it’s time to move beyond automated buggy whips.


AI Fatigue Emerges at Top Creator Event: I just finished an amazing weekend at Open Sauce in San Francisco. I programmed and hosted the Industry Day Friday – which was full of great discussions and presentations – and then immersed myself in the nerd-soaked event over the weekend. The biggest surprise was when the moderator of a session featuring top coding creators asked the audience to vote on an AI or no-AI discussion. Overwhelmingly the audience demanded an AI-free session. As one creator shared with me post session, people seem fed up with the same old rehashed discussions. Until something truly new emerges, it might be best to STFU on the GenAI. Or perhaps start exploring the radical revolution already underway around us.


Now That’s Alignment: Great to see creator Ludwig making every employee of his Offbrand company an owner. By converting the company into a worker co-op, each employee now has a stake in the company’s direction, operation and profits. Expect Offbrand to expand beyond streamer gear and into events and more. Ludwig also announced a partnership with Jason Hall of Pirate Software to build video games. It’s an accelerating trend, as creators shift from product and retail and into digital and SAAS.


SPONSOR: Don’t Miss @Whalar House at Cannes This Week!

Check out the must-see programming for the Creator Economy at Whalar House. RSVP today to hear from creators, industry experts, and brands shaping the future voices of creativity. Also check out what Whalar co-founder and co-CEO@ Neal Waller had to say about the stellar lineup!
















And Now for Something Completely Different: I’m on the board of “Grateful Guitars Foundation”, a non-profit that gets guitars into the hands of needy players dedicated to sharing the groove. Our annual benefit and fundraiser is August 13th in San Francisco. See you there?

100% written by me – no human or AI ghostwriters were involved in the production (except for the cover art!).

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