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California minors get chance to delete online postings

A person types at a computer in this undated file photo.
September 24, 2013 12:49:25 PM PDT
A new California state law gives minors a chance to remove embarrassing photos and potentially damaging postings on social media websites.

Teenagers putting pictures and comments on the Internet they shouldn't recently got a lot of publicity when 300 kids crashed former NFL player Brian Holloway's New York home and tweeted selfies partying it up and causing more than $20,000 in damage.

Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday signed into law SB568, the measure that requires website operators to erase postings when requested to do so by people under the age of 18. The law does not apply if a third party reposts the content.

"The kids who've been humiliated or bullied online now have a remedy. They can go to the provider of online materials, audio, video, and say, 'Take it down.' And now there's a process to make that possible," Brown said.

California will be the first state in the nation to have this law.

In a statement, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said the law gives minors a do-over if they post something without thinking through the consequences.

Social media expert and professor Andy Jones says it's like having an eraser button.

"These students are going to go on and apply to college, and they're going to go on to apply for jobs. And as a result, they want to make sure they're presenting themselves professionally," Jones said.

Many sites like Facebook and Twitter already allow users to delete their postings, but many do not.

Opponents like the Center for Democracy and Technology, which pushes for online freedom and accessibility, don't like that some sites may not understand whether this new California law applies to them and may ultimately ban kids from their sites.

The law, which does not take effect until January 2015, also includes restrictions for online marketing to minors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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