TikTok Attempts to Rein In Weight Loss Posts

Emma Lembke did not know what an algorithm was when she started using social media.

The then-12-year-old was thrilled when her parents gave her permission to join Instagram. She quickly followed all kinds of accounts — from Kim Kardashian to Olive Garden, she said — and was soon spending five to six hours a day on the app. Then one day she searched for “ab workouts,” and her feed shifted. She started seeing 200-calorie recipes, pro-anorexia posts and exercise routines that “no 12-year-old should be doing in their bedroom,” she said.

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Maryland governor signs online data privacy bills

Design It For Us, a coalition advocating for safer social media and online platforms for children, praised the new law. “We hope this will bring urgency to other states to pass and adopt much needed Kids Code legislation and end Big Tech’s power over our safety and privacy,” said Zamaan Qureshi, a co-chair of the group.

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Social Media Companies Are Having a Bad Moment

Zamaan Qureshi speaks during a rally organized by Accountable Tech and Design It For Us to hold social media companies accountable for protecting kids and teens online on January 31, 2024, in Washington, DC.

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4 Gen Z Activists Revolutionizing Big Tech

Design It For Us is endorsing a few bills on the federal level to improve these laws. You can view them here. One bill, the Kids Online Safety Act, is near the forefront of most minds. Some highlights include: An annual report on foreseeable risks of a given platform, disclosing specified information, not advertising certain products (such as nicotine) to young people, and allowing consumers and guardians to report certain harms.

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Big Tech won’t be able to track kids’ data in Maryland under new bill

In testimony for the bill, Arielle Geismar, a student at George Washington University who works with the national advocacy group Design It For Us, shared her personal experience of falling into a pit of social media posts about eating disorders that told her to starve herself. As she tried to understand what she was seeing, the platform served up more and more posts celebrating dangerous eating habits. She said the companies that design products to be as addicting as possible by using notifications to get children to open an app and endless scroll to keep them there are ruining young people’s lives.

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New version of KOSA picks up speed

Youth-led coalition Design it for Us: “The latest improvements to the Kids Online Safety Act are welcome changes that would ensure this bill cannot be weaponized to restrict civil liberties – the result of the tireless advocacy of young people desperate for change to protect our generation online.”

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