New York Lawmakers Pass Measures to Protect Youths On Social Media


New York state lawmakers have approved legislation aimed at protecting minors on social media platforms by restricting exposure to “addictive” algorithmic content without parental consent.

The measures, passed on Friday, make New York the latest state to address online risks faced by children.

The legislation includes two key bills: one that bars social media platforms from exposing users under 18 to addictive content without parental approval, and another that prevents online sites from collecting and selling personal data of underage users.

Both bills gained final legislative approval in the New York Assembly on Friday, following their passage in the state Senate the previous day.

Governor Kathy Hochul is expected to sign the measures into law.

She praised the bills, calling them a “historic step forward in our efforts to address the youth mental health crisis and create a safer digital environment for young people.”

The new laws could significantly impact social media companies like Meta Platforms, which owns Facebook and Instagram.

The measures aim to reduce the revenue these companies generate from advertising to minors.

A recent Harvard University study highlighted that the six largest social media platforms made $11 billion from advertising to minors in 2022.

Proponents of the legislation cite research linking excessive social media use by adolescents to increased rates of depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, and other mental health issues.

However, the industry association NetChoice criticized the legislation, describing it as an “assault on free speech and the open internet.”

The organization argued that the laws would force websites to censor content unless users provide age verification, which they contend is unconstitutional. NetChoice has successfully challenged similar measures in three other states.

A spokesperson for Governor Hochul clarified that the law would not censor content but would implement age-verification methods to protect user anonymity.

While Meta, led by chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, expressed some support for the bill, the broader social media industry remains divided on the issue.