California may allow parents to sue social networks over childrens
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California may allow parents to sue social networks over children’s Internet addiction

A bill has been introduced in the California Convention (the state legislature) that would allow parents of children who are addicted to social media to sue and seek financial compensation.

Image source: Gerd Altmann / pixabay.com

Image source: Gerd Altmann / pixabay.com

According to the document, the platforms will first be instructed to take measures to prevent addiction among underage users – such measures include changes in the architecture of resources and data collection methods. If the legal requirements are not met, parents have the right to sue the companies that own these services. Compensation is $1,000 per child in a class action or $25,000 per year in an individual civil suit. It also introduces the concept of “responsible” social platforms that have taken great strides to eradicate child addiction. Businesses with annual sales of less than $100 million are also exempt from the law.

In recent years, the public has become increasingly concerned about the actions of the social networks and their owners, Twitter, TikTok and Meta (formerly Facebook). Key issues include data collection methods, the role of platforms in shaping public opinion, and their administration’s policies to moderate (or not moderate) content. The impact of social networks on the younger generation has always been a separate line, and its importance has increased manifold after former Facebook employee Frances Haugen (Frances Haugen) documented the potential harm of Instagram for teenagers and the management of the platform knew about it. After that, the development of the children’s version of the Instagram application was suspended. At the same time, the special version of YouTube Kids turned out to be more workable, since here the recommendation algorithm and the content itself are moderated by service specialists.

Representatives from Twitter, Reddit and TikTok have not yet commented on the bill. However, a spokesman for TikTok said the company hasn’t had a chance to look into this yet, but the platform already has tools in place to limit the time users spend on the platform each day, and kids have the option to turn off notifications turn off at night. Meta’s representative did not provide any information on the company’s plans to correct anything in the services it monitors, but again denied Francis Haugen’s claims. He also recalled that parental control features had appeared on Instagram the day before, and some tools had appeared before that.

It is expected that the relevant committee of the California Convention will review the bill before the end of spring and it can be presented to the state governor for signature in the fall.

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About the author

Robbie Elmers

Robbie Elmers is a staff writer for Tech News Space, covering software, applications and services.

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