July 15, 2024
Big Tech Leads Nearly $1M Fight to Kill Online Child Safety Bills

Big Tech Leads Nearly $1M Fight to Kill Online Child Safety Bills

(Dmytro “Henry” Aleksandrov, Headline USA) Google, Meta and other Big Tech companies decided to kill New York legislation aimed at protecting children online by spending almost $1 million in the lobbying battle.

A group of Big Tech firms, advocacy groups and companies from other sectors have spent $823,235 lobbying Albany, N.Y., lawmakers through mid-March so that two high-profile bills – the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act and the New York Child Data Protection Act – would not be passed, the New York Post reported.

“This is an astonishing amount of money to be spent to kill two reasonable bills,” according to one longtime Albany insider who requested anonymity to discuss the lobbying push.

The news source reported that the SAFE Act would crack down on addictive recommendation algorithms used by social media apps by requiring them to provide default chronological feeds for users 18 or younger who didn’t receive parental consent. The bill would also allow parents to impose time limits on social media use and in-app notifications.

The Child Data Protection Act would block apps from collecting or selling personal or location data from minors unless they consent. Children under 13 would still need a parent’s consent.

As expected, the companies that benefit from earning money off of everyone, including children, pushed back against the bills, citing fears that the legislation would stifle freedom of speech, online privacy for teens, limit internet access for migrants and other underserved communities and essentially disable algorithms that help to crack down on hate speech.

The disclosures showed that Facebook and Instagram owner Meta spent the most on lobbying related to the tech bills and other items on the state agenda.

Meta supports federal legislation that would require app stores to get parents’ approval when kids under 16 download apps, rather than a state-by-state solution, according to one of the company’s spokespeople.

Google and TikTok were among other top spenders who wanted to kill the bills.

Source

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