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The Child Online Safety Act is a bipartisan push to protect children on social media| GuyWhoKnowsThings

Members of Congress have introduced several different bills aimed at increasing protections for children and teens online.

One is a wide-ranging measure, the Child Online Safety Law or KOSA. It would require online services such as social media, gaming sites and messaging apps to take “reasonable steps” to prevent harm (including harassment, sexual exploitation, anorexia, self-harm and predatory marketing) to minors. that use their platforms. .

It would also require services to turn on the highest privacy and security settings by default for users under 18. And it would allow young people to limit or opt out of features such as personalized news feeds, smartphone notifications and auto-playing videos “that are compulsive.” use of applications.

Co-sponsored by Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., KOSA is endorsed by dozens of other senators. It has also obtained the support of prominent children's groups and medical associations including the American Academy of Pediatrics. And Snap, the company that owns Snapchat, recently became the first social media giant to back KOSA.

But the ambitious bill faces an uphill battle.

Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, have objected on free speech grounds. In particular, the groups say the bill's definition of harm is so broad and vague that it could lead social media and other apps to censor content on politically polarizing topics like reproductive health or gender identity.

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