***The Iowa Standard is an independent media voice. We rely on the financial support of our readers to exist. Please consider a one-time sign of support or becoming a monthly supporter at $5, $10/month - whatever you think we're worth! If you’ve ever used the phrase “Fake News” — now YOU can actually DO something about it! You can also support us on PayPal at [email protected] or Venmo at Iowa-Standard-2018 or through the mail at: PO Box 112 Sioux Center, IA 51250

Following this month’s Big Tech hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) in welcoming added support for the updated Kids Online Safety Act. With 62 Senate cosponsors, the legislation aims to improve tools for families to protect their children online, crack down on Big Tech for promoting harmful content to kids and increase transparency around black box algorithms.

“Technology is here to stay, and while we should encourage digital innovation, safety and security must be job number one,” Grassley said. “We’ve seen social media platforms act as gateways for illicit activity, exploitation and abuse; we’ve also seen Big Tech companies unacceptably turn a blind eye. Our bill would give families more resources to ensure their children’s safety and establish ways to stop the flow of destructive content to young people online.”

“This overwhelming bipartisan support for the Kids Online Safety Act—62 total cosponsors, Democrats and Republicans—reflects the powerful voices of young people and parents who want Congress to act,” Blumenthal and Blackburn said. “The recent watershed hearing with Big Tech CEOs showcased the urgent need for reform. With new changes to strengthen the bill and growing support, we should seize this moment to take action. We must listen to the kids, parents, experts, and advocates, and finally hold Big Tech accountable by passing the Kids Online Safety Act into law.”

The Kids Online Safety Act was introduced in May 2023, and it subsequently advanced through the Senate Commerce Committee. Among other provisions, the legislation would:

  • Require social media platforms to provide minors with options to protect their information, disable addictive product features and opt out of algorithmic recommendations. Platforms would be required to enable the strongest settings by default.
  • Give parents new controls to help support their children and identify harmful behaviors, and provide parents and children a dedicated channel to report harms to kids on the platforms.
  • Create a responsibility for platforms to prevent harms to minors, such as promotion of suicide, eating disorders, substance abuse, sexual exploitation and unlawful products for minors (e.g. gambling and alcohol).
  • Require platforms to perform an annual independent audit that assesses risks to minors, their compliance with this legislation and whether they are taking meaningful steps to prevent those risks.
  • Provide academic and public interest organizations access to critical datasets from social media platforms to foster research on harms to the safety and well-being of minors.

The Kids Online Safety Act has garnered support from a broad coalition of parents whose children have either lost their lives or been severely harmed due to damaging online content. It’s received endorsements from hundreds of advocacy groups, as well as the following organizations: Nintendo of America; Microsoft; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); Christian Camp and Conference Association; Foundation United; Parents for Safe Online Spaces; Snap; Street Grace; and X.

Download bill text HERE, and a full list of cosponsors, HERE.

Author: Press Release


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here