On Thursday, Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox approved legislation that would limit access by young people to social media platforms, the first state-wide restriction of its kind.
Four other states are considering similar regulations on minors using social media.
The two laws order social media companies to confirm the age of any Utah resident signing up to a platform and also allows parents of underage social media users to have access to their posts and messages. Social media companies are restricted from capturing personal information from minors and targeting them.
The law also allows people to sue a social media platform if they suffer any damages from its use. Finally, the order restricts use of social media by young people between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. unless a parent consents to adjust the ban.
Critics have accused social media companies of creating addictive algorithms to maximize use, especially by children and teenagers.
“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a time in American history where mental health has been so problematic,” said Utah state Sen. Michael McKell about the new laws. “I hope we see action across the nation.”
A spokesperson for Meta, the parent company of Facebook, released a statement defending their practices.
“We want teens to be safe online. We’ve developed more than 30 tools to support teens and families, including tools that let parents and teens work together to limit the amount of time teens spend on Instagram, and age verification technology that helps teens have age-appropriate experiences," read the statement.
“We’ll continue to work closely with experts, policymakers and parents on these important issues," the spokesperson concluded.
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