Bipartisan Bill To Protect Kids From Social Media Harms Stalled In Senate | EUROtoday

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WASHINGTON — A invoice geared toward forcing tech firms to guard kids from the risks of social media has stalled within the U.S. Senate regardless of overwhelming bipartisan assist.

Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) mentioned Thursday that he’s making an attempt to get your entire chamber on board with the laws so it will possibly go with out the time-consuming technique of beating a filibuster.

“After weeks of work, we have made real progress in removing objections to this bill,” Schumer mentioned on the Senate flooring. “Sadly, objectors remain.”

With almost 70 cosponsors, the laws has greater than sufficient assist to go on a roll-call vote. But procedural votes can take a number of days, which means Democrats would lose time for different priorities, equivalent to confirming federal judges. Senators have solely a handful of weeks left on their work calendar earlier than the November elections.

The Kids Online Safety Act is a fancy invoice that, amongst different issues, would create a “duty of care” rule for social media firms to defend minors from doubtlessly dangerous materials, equivalent to movies encouraging consuming problems, and it might require platforms to permit minors to decide out of algorithms that serve up addictive content material.

A bunch referred to as Parents for Safe Online Spaces, consisting of fogeys who’ve misplaced kids due to on-line harms — such because the viral “blackout challenge” on TikTook — despatched Schumer a letter earlier this week saying that he’d pledged to carry a vote on the invoice by Thursday. The vote didn’t occur.

“We are disappointed that the deadline has been missed because families can’t wait any longer for a safer internet,” the group mentioned in a press release to HuffPost after the Senate adjourned Thursday. “But we appreciate Leader Schumer’s comments on the floor today reiterating his commitment to move the bill one way or another.”

The laws has its critics, together with not solely the tech business but in addition the American Civil Liberties Union and LGBTQ+ teams that’ve warned it might empower state attorneys normal to clamp down on transgender content material on-line.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) informed HuffPost that he’s among the many lawmakers who’ve opposed the invoice. He voiced numerous objections, together with to a provision establishing a “Kids Online Safety Council” tasked with figuring out harms for minors, and to the invoice’s definition of “mental health disorder,” which he mentioned was too broad and will shift over time.

“They’ve already got moms who’ve had tragedies with their kids coming up to me, but someone has to have the guts to read the bill, see what’s wrong with it,” Paul mentioned. “If they want it unanimously, they have to negotiate.”

The U.S. surgeon normal this week mentioned that social media apps are so dangerous to kids that they ought to come back with warning labels, like those on packs of cigarettes. Democrats and Republicans in Congress have made comparable statements, and a few lawmakers have mentioned that younger individuals ought to be restricted from utilizing social media platforms like TikTook and Instagram until their dad and mom approve. Earlier this yr, Congress even handed a invoice that might ban TikTook outright if its Chinese mother or father firm refuses to divest.

But the TikTook ban was extra about nationwide safety than psychological well being, and the Kids Online Safety Act appears caught on the again burner.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), the invoice’s lead sponsor alongside Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), praised Schumer for his work to this point on the laws and predicted it might finally go.

“The leader has been working tirelessly to get this bill done. I have seen the work up close and I have seen the benefits,” Blumenthal mentioned Thursday, talking with Schumer on the Senate flooring. “After pushing and cajoling, we are much closer to ultimate success.”