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NY May Restrict Social Media Algorithms for Teens

Social media platforms on phone

New York State lawmakers will vote on a bill this week that would prevent social media services from using algorithms to control content children see without parental consent, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The bill would also ban platforms from sending notifications to people under 18 during overnight hours without parental consent. Governor Kathy Hochul said the measure would make social media less addictive, and that its heavy usage by teens has contributed to higher instances of mental illness, according to the report.

“It does call for a federal response,” Hochul said during an interview Monday on National Public Radio. “I, as the leader of this state, cannot ignore the signs of distress and trauma among our young people. And it’s definitely correlated to what is happening with these social media feeds.”

Under the proposals, underage users would choose to follow whatever account they would like, but the feeds would be presented in chronological order, said the report.

Carl Szabo, an executive at NetChoice, a trade group whose members include Facebook-parent Meta and X, said this would violate the First Amendment because it restricts content organization. He noted that it is ‘less unconstitutional,’ but still an issue.

“Unfortunately, when it comes to constitutionality, close doesn’t count. You either are or you aren’t. This legislation continues to violate free speech protections granted to New York citizens,” said Szabo. Full Story (Subscription Required)