SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – A plan to require social media sites to get a parent or guardian’s permission before letting a person under age 13 create an account failed in the California State Assembly.

Assembly Bill 1138 had failed in the Assembly before but ultimately passed in May. It went before the Assembly for a concurrence vote on Friday after being amended in the Senate. The amendments they made were:

  • Prohibit information provided to social media companies for parental consent from being used or retained for any other purpose; and,
  • Provide that a business that willfully disregards the consumer’s age is deemed to have actual knowledge of the consumer’s age, as specified.

AB 1138 outlined a number of requirements for social media providers, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The sites would have needed to take reasonable measures to ensure the person giving consent is actually the child’s parent or guardian and would have become law on July 21, 2021.

Some of the suggestions include:

  • Signing a consent form and sending it via fax, mail, or scan
  • Providing a debit or credit card, or other online payment system information that would notify parents and guardians of online transactions
  • Calling a toll-free number staffed by trained personnel
  • Connect via video conference to trained personnel
  • Provide a copy of a government-issued ID card
  • Answer a series of knowledge-based challenge questions
  • Provide a copy of a photographic ID Card

The bill’s author said,

“Currently, many social media sites do not have age requirements to use their platforms. When minors create accounts without their parent’s knowledge, those parents do not have the opportunity to discuss how to safely use these media sites. While many people recognize the potential employment issues facing people who use social media inappropriately, social media can also be used by various groups and individuals to target minors. Groups ranging from extremist organizations to child-predators have been found on social media sites, such as Facebook, luring minors into their folds.”

The initial version of this bill called for parental or guardian consent for teens under the age of 16. The age was changed to 13 in the Assembly Privacy and Consumer Protection Committee due to Federal and state law, which protects minors’ information online but distinguishes between children under 13 years of age and those over 13 years of age.

 

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