NY Governor Enacts First US Bill Regulating Social Media Algorithms

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TL/DR –

New York Governor Kathy Hochul has signed two bills into law to regulate the use of social media algorithms and children’s data, making it the first state to take such action. The SAFE For Kids Act requires social media platforms to display content chronologically by default for users under 18, and limits late-night app notifications, while the New York Child Data Protection Act restricts sites from collecting or sharing personal data of users under 18 without consent. The legislation has been hailed as a crucial check on social media influence over teens, though opponents argue it infringes on children’s First Amendment rights and raises questions about cross-state social media operation.


New York Governor Enacts Laws Regulating Social Media Use For Minors

New York’s young social media users are set to experience major changes after Governor Kathy Hochul signed two pivotal bills. The laws aim at regulating digital platform algorithms and the use of children’s data.

First State to Act Against Social Media Algorithms

New York proudly becomes the first state to pass a law regulating social media algorithms. This development follows nationwide accusations that apps like Instagram and TikTok use addictive features to hook users.

US Surgeon General’s Warning for Social Media

The Governor’s move comes just days after US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy demanded warning labels for social media platforms. His call has sparked a debate about social media’s potential impact on users’ mental health, especially teenagers.

New York’s SAFE For Kids Act and Child Data Protection Act

Under New York’s SAFE For Kids Act, social media platforms must display content chronologically for users under 18. Additionally, the New York Child Data Protection Act restricts websites from collecting or sharing the personal data of users under 18 without consent.

Limiting Late-Night App Notifications

The SAFE For Kids Act also necessitates platforms to limit late-night app notifications causing sleep disruption. The two pieces of legislation were introduced last fall and passed the state legislature in early June.

Reaction from Meta Spokesperson

A Meta spokesperson released a statement acknowledging that while they might not agree with every aspect of the legislation, they appreciate New York’s recognition of app stores’ responsibility.

Opponents Claim Unconstitutionality

Opponents, including the tech industry, believe the legislation infringes on children’s First Amendment rights and question its practicality across state lines. Adam Kovacevich, CEO of the tech advocacy group Chamber of Progress, argued that banning algorithms would make social media worse for teens.

Previous State Legislation Against Social Media Platforms

Several states like Arkansas, Florida and Louisiana have passed laws against social media companies’ approach to teenagers. Courts have largely viewed these laws skeptically, and they’ve often been challenged by the industry.

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