In the Fall of 2023, New York State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Nily Rozic, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Tish James, introduced two pieces of legislation that aim to regulate the social media industry and protect children and youth from two of the most harmful social media practices: data collection and addictive algorithms.

The New York Child Data Protection Act

With very few privacy protections in place for minors online, children are vulnerable to having their personal data tracked and shared with third parties. To protect children’s privacy, the New York Child Data Protection Act will prohibit all online sites and social media platforms from collecting, using, sharing, or selling personal data of anyone under the age of 18 for the purposes of advertising, unless they receive consent.

The Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act

Social media companies often use specific algorithms to supplement new content to users from accounts they don’t follow, using a variety of factors to curate the content. However, algorithmic feeds are purposely addictive because companies prioritize content that keeps users on the platform longer. Addictive feeds are correlated with an increase in the amount of time that teens and young adults spend on social media and significant negative mental health outcomes for minors.
The SAFE for Kids Act will prevent social media platforms from using addictive feeds on users under 18 without parental consent. Instead, users will see a chronological feed of content from only the account that they already follow or feeds of generally popular content – the same way that social media feeds functioned before the advent of addictive feeds.