The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act: A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

The Protecting Kids on Social Media Act has been making headlines recently. On the surface, it seems like a noble endeavor. The bill aims to verify the age of social media users, set a minimum age of 13 for platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, and require parental consent for users between 13 and 18. But dig a little deeper, and you’ll find that the legislation may have some unintended consequences, particularly when it comes to user privacy.

Firstly, the bill mandates that social media companies verify the ages of all account holders, including adults. This raises immediate concerns about data collection and storage. How will these companies verify age? Most likely, through the collection of sensitive documents like IDs or birth certificates. This opens up a Pandora’s box of privacy issues. The more personal data these platforms hold, the higher the risk of data breaches and misuse.

Secondly, the bill prohibits the use of algorithmic recommendation systems for individuals under 18. While this may sound like a good idea to protect young minds from harmful content, it also means that these algorithms can’t be used to filter out inappropriate material. This could potentially expose minors to content that is even more damaging.

Moreover, the bill has been criticized for cloaking an attack on privacy behind the guise of child protection. Critics argue that the legislation could set a dangerous precedent for governmental control over the internet. If the government can mandate age verification for social media, what’s stopping them from requiring other forms of verification for different online activities? This could be a slippery slope towards an internet that is heavily regulated and monitored by the state.

In conclusion, while the Protecting Kids on Social Media Act may have been introduced with the best of intentions, its implications for user privacy cannot be ignored. As it stands, the bill poses significant risks to both minors and adults, compromising the very privacy it aims to protect. Before passing such legislation, it’s crucial to consider the broader impact on internet freedom and individual privacy.

About the author

William Johnson

William J. has a degree in Computer Graphics and is passionate about virtual and augmented reality. He explores the latest in VR and AR technologies, from gaming to industrial applications.