New York plans to restrict social media algorithms for teens, WSJ reports

New York is poised to implement strict regulations on social media algorithms that target youth, the Wall Street Journal reported. This initiative, designed to safeguard young users, is moving forward under a tentative agreement reached by state lawmakers.

The proposed legislation aims to curb the influence of social media on minors by prohibiting the use of automated content feeds without explicit parental consent. This measure reflects a broader effort to give parents more control over the digital environments their children navigate. According to the Wall Street Journal, the bill, still in its final stages, is expected to be voted on later this week. It also includes a provision to ban social media platforms from sending notifications to minors during overnight hours unless parents approve.

The focus on regulating social media algorithms stems from increasing concerns about the platforms’ addictive nature and their impact on the mental health of younger users. Over the past few years, social media giants have faced growing scrutiny for the ways their content algorithms can negatively affect adolescents.

New York City’s Mayor Eric Adams has been vocal about these issues. In February, his administration took a significant step by filing a lawsuit against several social media companies, including Meta Platforms, which owns Facebook and Instagram. The lawsuit claims these platforms are contributing to a mental health crisis among the youth.

This move by New York follows similar actions taken by other states. In March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that bans children under 14 from accessing social media platforms altogether, and requires parental consent for 14- and 15-year-olds. The rationale behind such measures is to protect children from the potential mental health risks posed by unregulated social media use.

Utah set a precedent last year by becoming the first state in the U.S. to pass laws regulating children’s access to social media. Since then, other states, including Arkansas, Louisiana, Ohio, and Texas, have enacted similar regulations. These legislative efforts collectively represent a growing recognition of the need for more robust protections for young social media users.

As New York moves closer to enacting its own regulations, the spotlight remains on how social media companies will adapt to these new legal landscapes and what further measures might be taken to ensure the safety and well-being of younger users online.

Written by Maya Robertson


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