New Jersey lawmaker seeks to regulate social media apps and childhood addiction

TRENTON, NJ – As concerns for child addiction to mobile devices and social media grows, Trenton lawmakers are hoping a new bill that targets social media apps will slow the trend.

According to bill S3608, social media apps and platforms will be prohibited from using any practice, design, feature, or affordance that would cause child users to become addicted to the platform. 

Social media companies that violate the law would be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $250,000 for each violation. 

Under the proposed law, if a social media platform implements an audit program and corrects certain addictive practices, the platform would not be deemed to violate the provisions of the bill. 

“Specifically, the social media platform would be required to conduct quarterly audits, and hire an independent third party to conduct an annual audit, to determine whether any of its practices, designs, features, or affordances would cause, have the potential to cause, or contribute to the addiction of child users to the platform.  If so, the social media platform would also be required to correct the practice, design, feature, or affordance within 30 calendar days of the completion of the audit,” said Senator Joseph Vitale, sponsor of the bill. “Additionally, certain social media platforms would not be subject to the requirements of the bill.  These social media platforms would include any platform that is controlled by a business entity that generated less than $100 million in gross revenue during the preceding calendar year, or any platform whose primary function is to enable users to play video games.”

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