preloader icon

Apex Trader Funding (ATF) - News

New York governor signs bill regulating social media algorithms, in a US first

CNN  —  Big changes are coming for New York’s youngest social media users after Gov. Kathy Hochul signed two bills into law Thursday clamping down on digital platforms’ algorithms and use of children’s data. The unprecedented move makes New York the first state to pass a law regulating social media algorithms amid nationwide allegations that apps such as Instagram or TikTok have hooked users with addictive features. Hochul’s signature comes days after US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called for warning labels to be applied to social media platforms, fueling a debate about social media’s potential impact on the mental health of users, particularly teens. Under New York’s SAFE For Kids Act, social media platforms will be required to display content chronologically by default for kids under 18, while the New York Child Data Protection Act will restrict websites from collecting or sharing the personal data of users under 18 without consent — expanding on existing federal privacy protections for children under 13. The SAFE For Kids Act also requires platforms to limit late-night app notifications that state lawmakers say are engineered to drive user engagement and that risk hindering sleep. Both pieces of legislation were introduced last fall and cleared the state legislature in early June. New York officials hailed the legislation as a critical check on social media platforms’ influence over teens. “Today, we save our children,” Hochul said Thursday at a press conference. “We have heard their cries for help, reminding us as adults that we have a moral responsibility to protect young New Yorkers from harm and from addictive forces.” Some academics have said that while studies highlight associations between specific types of social media activities and negative mental health outcomes – such as engaging in social comparison – a causal link between those harms and general social media use is less clear. Still, numerous states and federal lawmakers have pushed for legislation clamping down on social media platforms, arguing that tech companies’ products are to blame for eating disorders, sleeplessness, distraction and, in some cases, self-harm and suicide. “We will save lives with this, my friends,” Hochul said at Thursday’s press conference. New York Attorney General Letitia James added Thursday that the legislation would take on “the most dangerous aspects of social media, the addictive algorithm feeds that exploit impressionable minds.” “These bills will empower my office to set rules and ensure companies are following them,” James said. Opponents of the social media algorithm bill — including but not limited to the tech industry — have said the legislation is likely unconstitutional because it infringes on children’s First Amendment rights and raises other questions about how social media can function in practice across state lines. “It’s a well-intentioned effort, but it’s aimed at the wrong target,” said Adam Kovacevich, CEO of the tech industry advocacy group Chamber of Progress. “Algorithmic curation makes teenagers’ feeds healthier, and banning algorithms is going to make social media worse for teens.” The legislation’s signing sets the stage for another in a long string of court battles over state social media laws. States such as Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and many others have passed laws clamping down on social media companies’ approach to teens. Industry groups have challenged some of that legislation, and courts have largely viewed the laws with skepticism. In Ohio this year, for example, a federal judge temporarily blocked a law prohibiting online platforms from creating accounts for users under 16 unless they obtain parental consent, saying the legislation likely violates the First Amendment. Two states, Texas and Florida, have passed laws that would restrict online platforms from moderating their sites; legal challenges reached the Supreme Court this term and a decision is expected within weeks.