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Social media firms ‘need to get real’ on content

Taoiseach Simon Harris has told the Dáil that social media companies “need to get real” about the impact harmful content has on the mental health of young people.

“And if they don’t, we need to be ready to act,” he added.

The comments come ahead of an RTÉ Prime Time programme which examines concerns published by researchers and advocacy groups about young teens’ mental health being negatively influenced by content on TikTok

Mr Harris said that he will watch the “very closely this evening”.

While he has not seen it yet – noting that “none of us has” – what he has read about the programme is “deeply harrowing”.

“And we will need a response,” Mr Harris said, adding that he will come back to the house on the matter.

The Taoiseach said that he shares the concerns which Tánaiste Micheál Martin expressed at the weekend about the impact of social media on the health of young people.

He will be “asking all relevant ministers to bring forward an up-to-date position on what more we can do in this space”.

He was responding to Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik who asked how the Government is going to regulate social media companies in this regard.

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