Google and Meta Spend Big to Block New York Child Data Protection and SAFE Acts

By Thea Felicity

May 20, 2024 10:22 AM EDT

TO GO WITH AFP STORY "INDONESIA-INTERNET-FACEBOOK,FOCUS" BY SHIRLEY WIBISONO AND SUMISHA NAIDU Indonesian children look Facebook at an internet shop in Jimbaran on January 3, 2012. Indonesia, a developing Muslim nation which claims the world's third-largest community of Facebook users, has become a showcase for the social networking site's global power and reach.
(Photo : SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP via Getty Images)
Earlier this year, VCPost reported that Meta apps, particularly Facebook and Instagram, are under EU investigation due to not imposing child protection policies.

The policies in question were the SAFE Act, which aims to regulate addictive recommendation algorithms on social media, requiring default chronological feeds for users under 18 without parental consent and allowing parents to set time limits and control notifications. 

The other was the Child Data Protection Act, which would prohibit apps from collecting or selling personal and location data of users under 18 without consent, with additional parental consent required for users under 13.

READ NEXT: US States Fight Tech Firms With Online Child Safety Bills-Are They Winning?

Meta ang Google Blocking Online Child Safety

Recently, NYPost reported that Meta and Google are at the forefront of a lobbying effort to thwart New York legislation designed to enhance online child safety, with the campaign's spending expected to exceed $1 million.

As of mid-March, Big Tech firms, advocacy groups, and companies from various sectors have spent $823,235 lobbying Albany lawmakers as two significant bills-the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids Act and the New York Child Data Protection Act-move towards votes.

It is worth noting that although the disclosed lobbying reports provide information on how much money each firm has spent on legislation related to the online child safety bills, they do not detail whether the firms are for or against the bills. 

It is projected that, based on the trend of spending so far, the total amount spent by Big Tech companies to fight these bills will exceed $1 million when the next set of financial disclosures is made public.

Meta, Google and other tech firms argue that the proposed legislation would have several negative consequences. They claim it would stifle free speech, infringe on teens' privacy, restrict internet access for marginalized communities, and impede the effectiveness of algorithms used to combat hate speech.

So far, the SAFE Act has garnered significant bipartisan support, with 94 sponsors in the state assembly and 25 in the state senate.

READ MORE: Facebook, Instagram Face EU Probe Over Suspicions of Failing to Impose Child Protection Policies

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