The parliamentarians have adopted a text to that effect, not yet signed by the governor of the state that hosts Silicon Valley.
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Social networks are regularly accused of having harmful effects on younger users, for example by overexposing them to other people’s seemingly ideal lives or inappropriate advertising. As such, Californian lawmakers adopted on Tuesday, August 30, a text intended to force these companies, such as Instagram and TikTok or even online gaming platforms, to put children’s interests ahead of their profits. The text must now be signed by Governor Gavin Newsom to become law and apply in this state that is home to Silicon Valley and its tech giants.
All companies that offer online services dedicated to minors under the age of 18 or that can be used by minors “must take into account the best interests of children in the design, development and supply” of their services, it is indicated there. “When there is a conflict between commercial interests and the best interests of children, companies must prioritize the privacy, safety and well-being of children over commercial interests.”
The law, which comes into effect in 2024, would require platforms to install settings that offer a high level of data protection for minors by default. It would also prohibit them from collecting, sharing or selling any personal information that is not necessary for the proper functioning of the service.
It also wants to prevent social networks from using any features they know are harmful to the health, physical or mental, of younger users.
California law, the first of its kind in the United States, is inspired by a text adopted in the United Kingdom in 2021. “We have seen through UK law that tech companies can be regulated”Democrat Buffy Wicks, lead author of the text adopted on Tuesday, said in a press release. If the law is enacted by the governor, “We hope that this model will be emulated by other American states and other countries of the world”she added.