New York Plans to Restrict Kids’ Access to Addictive Social Media


New York’s state legislature has approved a bill to prevent social media firms from displaying what are termed “addictive feeds” to minors under 18 unless parental consent is obtained.

The Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act describes an addictive feed as one where content is recommended or prioritized based on user information or device data — essentially the algorithmic feeds found on most social media platforms. “Non-addictive feeds,” such as those listed in chronological order, would still be permissible.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul is anticipated to sign the bill; her office has already issued a statement lauding its passage, along with a related New York Child Data Protection Act that bans online platforms from collecting or selling personal data of users under 18 without informed consent.

“New York is leading the nation in safeguarding our children from addictive social media feeds and protecting their personal data from exploitative companies,” said Governor Hochul. “Together, we have made a historic advance in our efforts to tackle the youth mental health crisis and create a safer digital environment for young individuals.”

NetChoice, a trade association with members including Google, Meta, and Snap (as well as Truth Voices’s parent company Yahoo), criticized the SAFE Act as “dangerous and unconstitutional.”

Implementing this bill would necessitate that social media companies verify user ages. It would also prevent platforms from sending notifications related to these feeds between midnight and 6am without parental approval. Companies violating the law could incur penalties up to $5,000 per infringement.

“This represents an attack on free speech and the open internet by the State of New York,” said NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo in a statement. “New York has devised a method for the government to monitor which websites people access and their online activities by compelling websites to censor all content unless visitors provide an ID to verify their age.”

NetChoice’s statement also claims it has successfully contested similar legislation in Ohio, Arkansas, and California.

The bill was introduced by State Senator Andrew Gournades and Assemblymember Nily Rozic and has the support of New York Attorney General Letitia James. (Hochul, Gournades, Rozic, and James are all Democrats.)

Anthony Ha
Anthony Ha
Weekend Editor. Previously, Anthony worked as a tech writer at Adweek, a senior editor at the tech blog VentureBeat, a local government reporter at the Hollister Free Lance, and vice president of content at a venture capital firm. He lives in New York City.

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