Senators Marsha Blackburn, R. Tenny, and Richard Blumenthal, Democratic End, are holding a news conference at the Capitol.
Tom Williams CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Two senators introduced Fr. new bill On Wednesday, it will give online platforms a duty to act in the best interests of children and prevent or mitigate the risk of certain harms, including suicide, eating disorders and drug addiction.
The Internet Safety Act was introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal, Connection State Department, and Marsha Blackburn, Tenn, respectively, chair and senior members of the Senate Trade Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. If passed, the bill will have a significant impact on the design of platforms made by companies such as the parent company Facebook Meta, Binding, Google and TikTok.
The subcommittee received thousands of pages of documents from the former Facebook employee Francis Haugen, who is also testified before the board. The documents partially showed that the company researched the impact of its platforms on children and found adverse effects on the mental health of some adolescent girls. Lawmakers who later confronted executives with Facebook, including Instagram head Adam Moseriwere outraged that the company did nothing more to change its services after the survey.
The Internet Safety Act will raise standards for online platforms that are “reasonably likely to be used” by children aged 16 and under to better protect them.
This requires these companies to implement safeguards that minors or their parents can easily access to “monitor their experiences and personal data”.
This will include platform settings that help them limit the ability of others to find minors online, limit the amount of data that can be collected on them, allow them to abandon algorithmic guidance systems using their data and limit time spent online.
Notably, the bill also requires platforms to make the strongest version of these guarantees a default setting for their services. Moreover, it prohibits services from encouraging minors to disable this control.
Covered platforms will be required to issue annual public reports based on an independent third-party audit of the risk of harm to minors from their services. They will also need to provide access to data for researchers verified by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to conduct a public interest study regarding harm to minors online.
The bill also directs government agencies to find out the best ways to protect minors through these services. For example, he manages the Federal Trade Commission to create recommendations for indoor platforms on how to conduct market and product-oriented juvenile research. It also requires NTIA to explore how platforms can most realistically and accurately verify the age of their users.
The bill calls for a new council of parents, experts, technology representatives, law enforcement and youth voices to be convened by the Minister of Commerce to give advice on law enforcement. This will be provided by the FTC and the Attorney General.