Computer & Communication Industry Association
PublishedJune 5, 2024

CCIA Opposes Proposed New York Bill to Change Social Media for Young Users

Washington – The Computer & Communications Industry Association today submitted a memo of opposition to S. 7694A/A.8148A, a bill currently under consideration by the New York State Legislature. CCIA is concerned with the online age verification requirements outlined in the bill, as they would increase the amount of sensitive information users must share with companies and potentially cut off users from the online communities they depend on.

While emphasizing CCIA’s belief that children deserve a higher level of security and privacy in their online experiences, the memo notes that the approach proposed by the bill raises additional safety concerns for young users. To comply with the legislation, social media companies would be required to implement age verification measures, requiring the collection of sensitive personal information from users and their parents. This would also impact vulnerable populations, including the estimated 800,000 undocumented individuals living in New York, who may be reluctant or unable to provide the requested information and potentially be excluded from social media platforms that help people connect to people and information.

The proposed bill, S. 7694A/A.8148A, targets the algorithms that curate and present content to younger users. However, these very algorithms also protect teens from harmful content and help tailor online content for younger users. While the intent is to reduce the potential for excessive scrolling, eliminating algorithms could lead to a random assortment of content being delivered to users, potentially exposing them to inappropriate material.

The following can be attributed to CCIA Northeast Regional Policy Manager Alex Spyropoulos:

“It’s important to recognize that labeling these algorithms as ‘addictive feeds’ oversimplifies their role and overlooks the benefits they provide in curating personalized and age-appropriate online experiences. Numerous tools exist to address excessive screen time and content consumption among minors without compromising protective measures and collecting sensitive information. We urge New York legislators to reject these social media bills.”