Lawmakers Hold Tech Companies Accountable: ‘It’s Time To Have More Control’ and Protect Children’

Photo by Derek Thomson via Unsplash

Lawmakers Hold Tech Companies Accountable: ‘It’s Time To Have More Control’ and Protect Children

By Movieguide® Staff

After Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen exposed a series of reports called the Facebook Files, lawmakers took legal action to protect children online. 

Facebook’s internal documents and testimony of Haugen revealed the dangerous business model of Meta’s social media platform and its specific danger to young users. 

The latest proposed bill, called the Kids Online Safety Act, seeks to hold tech companies accountable for harmful business strategies, according to The Wall Street Journal

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D., Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) said that the bill would require companies to offer transparent reports of how their platform could contribute to the harm of minors and provide tools to help parents keep their children safe. 

“In hearings over the last year, Senator Blumenthal and I have heard countless stories of physical and emotional damage affecting young users, and Big Tech’s unwillingness to change,” Sen. Blackburn said.

Movieguide® previously reported

As TikTok continues to grow in popularity among younger generations, so do the red flags raised by medical professionals from across the country.

Mental-health professionals warned parents about the application’s potential to negatively affect users’ mental health, especially for young girls. 

“For a young girl who’s developing her identity, to be swept up into a sexual world like that is hugely destructive,” Paul Sunseri, a psychologist and director of the New Horizons Child and Family Institute, told The Wall Street Journal. “When teen girls are rewarded for their sexuality, they come to believe that their value is in how they look.” 

The bill would also force Twitter, TikTok, Instagram, and others to use strict default settings and give more control back to the user regarding what they see online. 

“We’ve had a kind of Wild West mentality,” Margaret Spellings, a commission member and former U.S. education secretary under President George W. Bush. “That’s borne fruit, but it’s time to have more control.”

During the pandemic, the rise of social media concerned parents on both sides of the political spectrum, and legislators are united in renewed efforts to protect children.  

Movieguide® previously reported

After Facebook whistleblower Francine Haugen released internal documents and testified that the company was aware of Instagram’s harm to teenage users, lawmakers from both sides of the political aisle agreed that Big Tech should be held accountable.

Despite political polarization between Democrats (Blumenthal) and Republicans (Blackburn) legislators, the two sides have found that they can agree on the need to protect children against the current business models of Big Tech companies.

Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said that Haugen’s testimony is the push legislators needed to start taking action to hold Big Tech accountable.

“It feels like we have finally reached a tipping point,” Klobuchar told USA TODAY. “The road ahead isn’t easy – Amazon and Facebook are the top business lobbyists in the U.S. – but the good news is that there is bipartisan momentum to get something done, and the public is on our side.”

Read More: SOCIAL DILEMMA Examines Nefarious Ways Big Tech Controls Its User Base

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