New York State Passes New Restrictions On Addictive Feeds

New York State Passes New Restrictions On Addictive Feeds

Date: June 10, 2024

While adults can be subject to such content, underage children on social media platforms should not be exposed to it without their parents’ consent.

Who controls what we see on social media platforms? Does our preference for content help these apps show what we want to see? Or do they force-feed us using advanced algorithms that track every like, comment, swipe, and much more to understand what we will see, irrespective of whether we need or want to? Platforms like Meta, X, and TikTok use algorithms tracking user movement to capture preferences and show organic and advertorial content.

A New York state legislature has passed a new bill that prohibits these companies from showing algorithm-based feed to children and underage users. This move will restrict platforms from showing anything to anyone just based on technical patterns without proper validation. The bill does not stop these companies but rather adds a layer of scrutiny to either verify their age or get consent from their parents.

Children can still be shown non-addictive feeds, a category that lists content chronologically. The new addition to the law falls under the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) Act, which defines addictive feeds as the result of tracking user’s information or device data. These news feeds are used by almost every famous social media app

New York Governor Kathy Hochul will sign the bill this week. Her office has already released a statement appreciating its passage, which will mandate parental permission to allow algorithm-based feeds on children’s profiles under 18. 

“New York is leading the nation to protect our kids from addictive social media feeds and shield their personal data from predatory companies. Together, we’ve taken a historic step forward in our efforts to address the youth mental health crisis and create a safer digital environment for young people,” said Governor Kathy Hochul.

“This is an assault on free speech and the open internet by the State of New York. New York has created a way for the government to track what sites people visit and their online activity by forcing websites to censor all content unless visitors provide an ID to verify their age,” said NetChoice Vice President and General Counsel Carl Szabo. 
NetChoice, a trade group of top tech giants like Google, Meta, Snap, and many others, calls this act dangerous and unconstitutional. Companies violating the new bill’s regulations must pay a hefty fine of $5000 per violation. With the new regulations kicking in, many businesses will also get impacted, and ad expenditures may shoot up until audience segregation is sorted out by these platforms.

Arpit Dubey

By Arpit Dubey LinkedIn Icon

Arpit is a dreamer, wanderer, and a tech nerd who loves to jot down tech musings and updates. With a logician mind, he is always chasing sunrises and tech advancements while secretly preparing for the robot uprising.

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