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California's legislature, both the Senate and Assembly, unanimously passed a bill requiring social media companies to consider the well-being of minors who use their platforms. Called the California Age-Appropriate Design Code Act, the bill now goes to the desk of Governor Gavin Newsom. The proposed legislation will "require a business that provides an online service, product, or feature likely to be accessed by children to comply with specified requirements." Those requirements include configuring default privacy settings and providing clear language about privacy, terms and conditions, policies suitable to the age of children likely to use the platform.
Social Media Children Regulations California Big Tech

A Texas law, HB20, that bars social media companies from banning users based on their political views was temporarily blocked in a 5-4 Supreme Court ruling. Justices John Roberts, Amy Coney Barrett, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Brett Kavanaugh ruled in favor of tech industry groups looking to block the law, with Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch dissenting, and Elena Kagan denying the application.
US Supreme Court Texas Social Media

Twitter released its latest transparency report, revealing that governments around the world made 43,387 legal demands to remove content from 196,878 accounts in the first six months of 2021 — a record high — with 95% of those requests came from Japan, Russia, Turkey, India and South Korea. Roughly half of those demands were honored. "We’re facing unprecedented challenges as governments increasingly attempt to intervene and remove content," said the report. "This threat to privacy and freedom of expression is a deeply worrying trend."
Freedom of Expression Censorship Internet Freedom Social Media Twitter

A group of 85 fact-checking organizations wrote an open letter to Youtube CEO Susan Wojciki blaming the platform for spreading disinformation and misinformation globally, in particular about COVID-19. "Every day, we see that YouTube is one of the major conduits of online disinformation and misinformation worldwide," the letter reads. "This is a significant concern among our global fact-checking community."
Misinformation Disinformation YouTube Fact Checking Social Media

The social media app TikTok has overtaken Google as the most popular site in 2021, according to the web security company Cloudflare. TikTok also surpassed other tech giants that ranked above it last year, including Amazon and Facebook.
Cloudflare Social Media Google TikTok

A federal judge blocked Texas from enforcing a law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott in September, that would have prevented large social media companies from banning users based on political views. The judge issued the order in favor of two industry associations, citing a similar law in Florida that was also blocked by a federal judge. The Texas court order further suggests that the law was intended specifically and unconstitutionally to target sites that politicians "perceived as being biased against conservative views.”
Greg Abbott Texas Politics Social Media Court Ruling

Most voters support further federal regulation of social media companies, according to a new survey from Data for Progress. Using a sample of 1,209 likely voters in the U.S., the survey found that 56% want the federal government to do more to regulate social media to stop behavior that incites violence; 78% support creating new rules and standards for platforms to better protect children online; and 78% said they support creating new rules to better manage the collection and use of personal data.
US Polling Regulations Social Media Big Tech

References

  1. Data for Progress
    filesforprogress.org

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