The US state of Utah has become the first US state to pass a law requiring social media to obtain parental or guardian consent before a minor user can use the platform. Otherwise, the platforms risk a fine.
The legislation should become active in March next year and is meant to reduce the harmful effects of social media on children. The new rules require platforms to verify the age of users from the state of Utah. If this shows that the user is not yet eighteen, the platform must have permission from the parent or guardian. That parent or guardian must also be given “full access” to the child’s account.
In addition, the state requires that children cannot use the platform between 10:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. as standard. Only parents or guardians should be allowed to disable this curfew. Users who are not friends with children on the platform, or who are followed by children, are also not allowed to send those children a private message. Underage accounts should also not be found through a search function and social media should not collect or use data from underage users for advertising purposes.
Platforms that violate the law can be fined up to $2,500 per violation. The state could seek an additional remedy through the court. In a second law, also passed on Thursday, social media may no longer target underage users with ‘addictive algorithms’. If they do, platforms could be fined $250,000 and an additional fine of $2,500 per affected child.
We’re no longer willing to let social media companies continue to harm the mental health of our youth. Today we signed two key bills in our fight against social media companies into law:
➡️ SB152 requires social media companies to verify that users in https://t.co/GVAcSi9zHx… pic.twitter.com/M1Kbya1xQi
—Utah Gov. Spencer J Cox (@GovCox) March 23, 2023