It’s been 25 years since Congress last passed legislation to protect kids online. But that can change now with two bipartisan bills advancing in the U.S. Senate: The Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0).
- KOSA would require social media companies to allow users to turn off engagement-based algorithms or options to influence the recommendation they receive. A user would be able to stop recommendation systems that are sending them toxic content, like disordered eating content.
- KOSA requires platforms to prevent and mitigate cyberbullying. It requires that platforms give users options to restrict messages from other users and to make their profiles private.
- KOSA’s duty of care would require platforms to consider and address the ways in which their recommendation systems promote suicide and suicidal behaviors, creating incentives for the platforms to do something about this problem.
What’s COPPA 2.0?
- COPPA would prohibit internet companies from collecting personal information from users who are 13 to 16 years old without their consent.
- COPPA would ban targeted advertising to children and teens and establish a “Digital Marketing Bill of Rights for Teens” that limits the collection of personal information of teens.
- The bill would create an “Eraser Button” for parents and kids by requiring companies to permit users to eliminate personal information from a child or teen when technologically feasible, and set up a right to revoke consent and have information deleted.
- COPPA includes a general requirement of companies to protect the confidentiality, security, and integrity of any personal information that is collected online from children.
Why should you care?
- Congress hasn’t passed internet protections in 25 years, which means that our online lives are managed by legislation that’s older than we are.
- KOSA is our best chance (due to the amount of political support) to pass strong protections for young people online, and COPPA is a highly overdue opportunity to establish privacy protections for young people that actually meet the demand of the environment today.
- These bills don’t ban content or communities, rather they force Big Tech to stop promoting harmful content through kids (like through the FYP), and to prevent the exploitation of our own personal data.
- KOSA and COPPA 2.0 were developed in partnership with young people from across the country. For over two years, the co-sponsors have worked directly with kids & teens from our coalition and from communities across the United States.
- If we don’t act now, Big Tech companies will continue to create products that exploit us.