Kids Online Safety Act Will Censor the News

Caitlin Vogus is Deputy Director of Advocacy at the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Imagine you’re a teenager who just survived a school shooting, but the government says you can’t read the news about it on social media because it might make you depressed. It sounds too ridiculous for even the US Congress. But under a bill currently being pushed by lawmakers in both parties and the White House, the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), it could become reality.  Based in part on moral panic and unproven claims that social media is irreparably harming children, KOSA purports to “protect” kids by incentivizing censorship of online content. More than 90 LGBTQ+, human rights, and civil liberties organizations already oppose KOSA, arguing it will make kids less safe.  It will also make kids — and everyone else — less informed. At a time when disinformation is running rampant, KOSA will cause social media platforms to remove real journalism. The impact will be felt by everyone, not just kids.  KOSA’s duty of care The heart of KOSA is a “duty of care” that states that platforms covered by the law must “act in the best interests of a user that the platform knows or reasonably should know is a minor by taking reasonable measures in its design and operation of products and services to prevent and mitigate” certain harms to young people, including “anxiety, depression, eating disorders, substance use disorders, and suicidal behaviors.” KOSA’s duty of care would apply to some of the…Kids Online Safety Act Will Censor the News