Child Safety Is the New Tech Battleground

From The New York Times:

Two senators from opposite sides of the aisle introduced sweeping legislation yesterday that would require online platforms to help parents better control their children’s online experience. The Kids Online Safety Act, which comes after months of news reports and Congressional hearings on social media’s impact on children’s mental health and safety, is lawmakers’ latest bid to limit the power of internet giants.

The bill, co-written with Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican of Tennessee, came together after internal research leaked by the Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen showed how Instagram could harm teens’ mental health, among other effects, and led to Instagram’s chief, Adam Mosseri, testifying before Congress.

What the bill would do:

  • Require online platforms to refrain from promoting harmful behavior, including suicide, self-harm, eating disorders and bullying.

  • Give parents of children under 16 tools to protect them, including the ability to modify algorithmically generated recommendations, ban certain kinds of content, prevent third parties from accessing minors’ data, and limit children’s online screen time.

  • Require platforms to publish annual reports about their potential risks to minors….

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