California legislators passed a bill with hopes to make the digital world safer for children

The California Age Appropriate Design Code Act would require social media companies to comply with new privacy requirements.

Sophie Flay Image
Thursday, September 8, 2022
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The California Age Appropriate Design Code Act would require social media companies to comply with new privacy requirements.

The Age Appropriate Design Code Act went into effect in the United Kingdom nearly one year ago. Now, California legislators have passed a similar bill through the state senate.

If signed into law, the California Age Appropriate Design Code Act would require social media companies to comply with new safety and privacy requirements.

"I want to make sure that we have set up the right tools to make sure that they have the guardrails. We know that they're going to be digital natives and we welcome that," Assemblymember Buffy Wicks said.

If Governor Gavin Newson signs this bill into law, some items required by social media companies include: setting all default settings to the most private and providing policy notices in clear language that children can understand.

Wicks wanted California to follow suit with the UK in hopes that the rest of the country will follow too. But it's not just legislators and parents supporting this bill, members of Gen Z across the country have backed it as well.

Those who oppose the bill like the California Chamber of Commerce and TechNet, a bipartisan network of tech CEO's and executives say the bill must be amended to "ensure that our companies can implement this bill effectively."

We reached out to the California Chamber of Commerce and TechNet. They declined interviews but TechNet provided us with this comment:

"We support the intent of this bill and protecting children online remains a priority. But it must be done responsibly and effectively. While this bill has improved, we remain concerned about its unintended consequences in California and across the country. It's another example of why we need a federal privacy law that includes universal standards to protect kids online instead of a patchwork of state laws that creates confusion and compliance complications for businesses."

If Newsom signs this bill, it would take effect in 2024.

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