On Tuesday, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced two bills to protect kids online and prevent harm by social media companies. The Making Age-Verification Technology Uniform, Robust, and Effective Act (MATURE Act) would enforce a minimum age requirement of 16 years old for all users on social media platforms, and the Federal Social Media Research Act would commission a government report on the harm of social media for kids.
“Children suffer every day from the effects of social media. At best, Big Tech companies are neglecting our children’s health and monetizing their personal information. At worst, they are complicit in their exploitation and manipulation. It’s time to give parents the weapons they need to strike back,” said Senator Hawley.“That starts with an age restriction for social media. And it’s long past time for well-funded research on the scale of the problem. We must set the precedent that these companies can no longer take advantage of our children.”
The MATURE Act would:
- Prohibit social media companies from offering accounts to users under age 16, and
- Hold social media companies accountable by creating an audit process and a private right of action.
The Federal Social Media Research Act would:
- Commission a report on the harms of social media, and
- Fully fund a longitudinal study to track social media’s effects on children over 10 years.