Keeping children safe online faces constitutional problems in courts

After a highly publicized congressional hearing featuring the CEOs of major social media companies, a federal bill aiming to keep children safer online may be moving toward becoming law. This effort parallels state attempts to impose restrictions and conditions for young people online. Those laws are already facing constitutional problems in the courts.  

The Kids Online Safety Act, or KOSA, first introduced in 2022, now has support from 60 senators, suggesting it has a path to passing that chamber. The bill would impose a “duty of care” on design features that might harm users under 16 on social media platforms. Critics contend this will trigger age verification for all users, sacrificing the privacy of millions of users. However, supporters point to an urgent need to address social media’s role in the perceived youth mental health crisis.

“It is undergirded by the
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