Google and Meta oppose NY online child safety bills with big tech firms

Google and Meta, along with other Big Tech firms, are actively opposing two bills in New York aimed at protecting children from becoming addicted to social media apps. The Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act and the New York Child Data Protection Act would limit social media companies' ability to use addictive feeds, require parental consent for certain features, and protect minors' personal data.

According to a report by The New York Post, Big Tech firms, advocacy groups, and other companies have spent over $823,000 lobbying against the bills, with expenditures expected to surpass $1 million in the near future. Facebook, Meta, Google, and TikTok are among the top spenders on lobbying efforts related to the legislation.

Tech firms have voiced concerns that the bills could hinder freedom of speech, online privacy for teens, limit internet access for certain communities, and disrupt algorithms used to combat hate speech. State Senator Andrew Gounardes, a co-sponsor of the bills, has acknowledged a "whisper campaign" in Albany against the legislation, but remains confident in bipartisan support in the Senate.

A Meta spokesperson emphasized the importance of consistency in online experiences for teens, stating that varying laws in different states could create confusion. The spokesperson stressed the need for legislation that empowers parents and supports teens online, rather than implementing quick fixes.

As the debate continues in New York, it is clear that there are strong opinions on both sides of the issue. While advocates for the bills argue that they are necessary to protect children from harmful online practices, opponents believe that the legislation could have unintended consequences. Ultimately, the fate of these bills will be decided by lawmakers weighing the concerns of both sides.


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