Skip to main content

Unbiased. Straight Facts.TM

Politics

NY officials propose restricting social media algorithms for kids

Feb 8

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

[KATHY HOCHUL]

THEY’LL GIVE MORE PARENTS MORE TOOLS TO KEEP THEIR KIDS SAFE. LIMIT SOCIAL MEDIA’S OUTREACH, AND LOOSEN THE GRIPS THAT THESE ALGORITHMS HAVE ON THE WAY OUR KIDS THINK AND ACT.

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

LAST FALL, NEW YORK GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL ANNOUNCED PLANS TO LIMIT THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA ALGORITHMS THAT LAWMAKERS AND ACTIVISTS CLAIM TARGET CHILDREN.

HERS IS ONE OF MANY COMPLAINTS COMING FROM STATE LEADERS AROUND THE NATION WHO SAY THEY’RE TIRED OF WAITING FOR THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ACT.

NOW, THE GOVERNOR’S PLANS MAY BECOME A REALITY AS NEW YORK CONSIDERS A MEASURE TO RESTRICT PLATFORMS’ ALGORITHMS THAT FEED CONTENT TO USERS.

NEW YORK LAWMAKERS’ LATEST PROPOSAL IS ONE OF MANY STATE EFFORTS TO REIN IN THE POWERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA GIANTS.

IN JUNE, CONNECTICUT REQUIRED ONLINE PLATFORMS TO PERFORM CHILDREN’S SAFETY ASSESSMENTS – AND LIMIT INTERACTIONS WITH POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS PEOPLE.

41 STATES AND THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ARE SUING META– IN WHAT’S BEEN CALLED THE “MOST SIGNIFICANT EFFORT BY STATE ENFORCERS” TO PROTECT CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH FROM THE DANGERS OF SOCIAL MEDIA.

NOT ALL STATE EFFORTS TO RESTRICT ACCESS TO SOCIAL MEDIA FOR KIDS HAVE WORKED.

ARKANSAS, OHIO AND UTAH BANNED KIDS FROM SOCIAL MEDIA– BUT NETCHOICE, A TRADE GROUP WHOSE MEMBERS INCLUDE META AND TIKTOK, IS SUING ALL THREE STATES– AND HAS WON INJUNCTIONS AGAINST ARKANSAS AND OHIO ON FIRST AMENDMENT GROUNDS. NOW UTAH IS DELAYING IMPLEMENTATION OF ITS LAW.

LIMITING KIDS AND TEENS ACCESS HAS ALSO TAKEN THE SPOTLIGHT IN NATIONAL POLITICS. WITH SENATORS JUST LAST WEEK ACCUSING BIG TECH C-E-OS OF HARMING CHILDREN AND FAMILIES.

[LINDSEY GRAHAM]

“I know you don’t mean it to be so, but you have blood on your hands. You have a product that’s killing people.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL FOUND MORE THAN 140 BILLS ACROSS AT LEAST 30 STATES ON THE TOPIC OF SOCIAL MEDIA PROTECTIONS.

WHERE STATES LIKE OHIO AND ARKANSAS HAVE HAD THEIR LAWS PAUSED–

NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL LETITIA JAMES, SEES HER STATE’S PROPOSED LAW SUCCEEDING– DUE TO ONE KEY DIFFERENCE– IT WOULD NOT REGULATE CONTENT– INSTEAD LIMITING A “DELIVERY MECHANISM.”

THE LAW WOULD TARGET AN ALGORITHM-BASED FEATURE– LIKE THE “FOR YOU FEED” ON TIKTOK. INSTEAD OF SHOWING CONTENT BASED ON PAST VIDEOS AND CONTENT KIDS WATCHED– THEY WOULD BE SHOWN A FEED– SHOWING ONLY POSTS FROM ACCOUNTS THEY HAVE FOLLOWED.

CRITICS OF SOCIAL MEDIA ALGORITHMS POINT TO THEIR PENCHANT TO

CAPTURE PEOPLE’S ATTENTION THROUGH SEEMINGLY ENDLESS VIDEOS AND CONTENT, EXPERTS WARN IT CAN ALSO LEAD KIDS DOWN AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT PATH, FROM MISINFORMATION AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES TO VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ABUSE.

THE STATE SENATOR WHO SPONSORS THE BILL TOLD THE JOURNAL:

“IF YOU WANT TO FOLLOW THE TAYLOR SWIFT FAN PAGE, THAT’S GREAT. WHAT WE DON’T WANT IS WHERE YOU CLICK ON ONE THING, AND IN 15 MINUTES BE SHOWN SELF-HARM VIDEOS.”

HOWEVER, META CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG ARGUES ALGORITHMS ARE BEING TAKEN OUT OF CONTEXT– TELLING THE NEW YORK TIMES– META USES THEM TO IDENTIFY AND REMOVE DANGEROUS CONTENT.

THE GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK IS NOT THE FIRST PUBLIC OFFICIAL TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST BIG TECH IN HER STATE.

LAST MONTH, NEW YORK CITY ERIC ADAMS DECLARED SOCIAL MEDIA A PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY– BECOMING THE FIRST MAJOR-CITY TO LABEL THE PLATFORMS AS AN “ENVIRONMENTAL TOXIN.”