US state of Utah introduces laws that prohibit social media platforms from allowing access to minors without explicit parental consent

Utah implements laws mandating parental consent for minors to access social media, with restrictions on addiction-inducing design and late-night use. These laws face opposition from civil liberties and tech groups concerned about free speech and privacy rights.

 Computer, Electronics, Laptop, Pc, Boy, Child, Male, Person, Computer Hardware, Computer Keyboard, Hardware, Photography, Screen, Face, Head

In the USA, the Governor of Utah, Spencer Cox, has signed two laws introducing new measures intended to protect children online. The first law prohibits social media companies from using ‘a practice, design,
or feature that […] the social media company knows, or which by the exercise of reasonable care should know, causes a Utah minor account holder to have an addiction to the social media platform’. The second law introduces age requirements for the use of social media platforms: Social media companies are required to introduce age verification for users in Utah and to allow minors to create user accounts only with the express consent of a parent or guardian. The laws also prohibit social media companies from advertising to minors, collecting information about them, or targeting content to them. In addition, there is a requirement for companies to enable parents or guardians to access the minors’ accounts. and minors should not be allowed to access their social media accounts between 10:30 pm and 06:30 am.

The laws – set to enter into force in March 2024 – have been criticised by civil liberties groups and tech lobby groups who argue that they are overly broad and could infringe on free speech and privacy rights. Social media companies will likely challenge the new rules.