Home News Why Social Media Platforms Need Age Verification: What Lawmakers are Doing to Protect Our Kids

Why Social Media Platforms Need Age Verification: What Lawmakers are Doing to Protect Our Kids

by admin

Utah recently made two new laws which will change how teens use social media. Companies will now have special rules when handling teenagers’ accounts, including needing permission from parents, setting up special controls that parents can control, and limits on how late teens can use the accounts.

The law is making companies like Snap, Meta and TikTok check the ages of their youngest users. From next March, the rules say that platforms can’t just let teens type in their own birthdays when they sign up – they have to go through a process such as giving a copy of an ID instead.

Utah recently passed a law about using social media sites and other states such as Arkansas, Ohio, Connecticut, and Minnesota are also looking at writing similar laws. Even the US Senator Josh Hawley wants to make a law which will not allow people under 16 to be able to use social media websites. The Surgeon General even said that maybe 13 is too young for us to use online platforms.

Lawmakers are trying to keep social media safer for the young users. They use teens’ finstas and research to create regulations on big tech companies, like making it harder to post something, and limiting apps from having features that can be too addicting.

When you sign up for BuyTechBlog, the Terms and Privacy Policy will become applicable. Recently, laws have been trying to make sure that adults say it’s okay before they let children use websites and apps instead of focusing on how private data is kept safe. Irene Ly, who works at Common Sense Media (a group that looks after kids’ safety on the Internet) says this change is mainly because politicians find it hard to pass laws about data security.

People who make laws are having a lot of difficulty agreeing on ways to regulate tech companies. But, some states have found more agreement and support in making rules that limit young people using technology, as well as rules for getting parents’ permission before doing so. These states are creating laws that give rights back to parents.

Experts are warning that restricting social media by age is not enough to keep everyone safe, which is what lawmakers want. But these age verification methods in Utah could hurt the privacy of all who use social media, not just teens.

Organizations which care about privacy like the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) say it’s impossible to make sure people are a certain age without making everyone do age verification checks. Jason Kelley, working for EFF said that confirming every single person’s age is not possible because years ago the Supreme Court ruled against this kind of control.

In Utah, if you have a social media account, you may have to provide proof that you’re over 18 or else your account could be locked. This is part of the law: if you can’t show an ID or prove your age in some way, your access to the account will be denied.

Tech companies have a problem because they don’t know which users live in Utah and the proposed law would apply to all. Ari Cohn, from the company TechFreedom that received money from Google and Meta, said this law can not be enforced nationwide.

It can be difficult to decide how to check if people using Instagram are the right age. A lot of teenagers do not have a driver’s license or government ID. Instagram has been experimenting with a tool that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to identify someone’s age just by looking at their face, however there are worries about whether this is accurate and ethical or not. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) also said that this could make users extra vulnerable when it comes to their privacy.

Recently, companies like Meta and Twitter confessed that they used the phone numbers they collected for two-factor authentication to target ads. According to Kelley, this same thing could happen with age verification systems, as it’s hard to know if they’re using information such as a selfie, driver’s license or calling an API company for credit details.

Common Sense Media has similar concerns. That means it wants stricter rules for social media so that teens of all ages can’t use them.

“If you change some things about how social media sites work, like collecting less data and using it in different ways, as well as changing their design, it’ll make the platforms a better experience,” she said. “That way teens wouldn’t need to be stopped from using them.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment