Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham’s social media liability bill cleared the Assembly Judiciary Committee unanimously and is headed to the Assembly floor.
The bill is a bipartisan effort from Assemblymembers Cunningham, R-San Luis Obispo, and Buffy Wicks, D-Oakland, to allow parents and the California attorney general to hold large social media companies liable for knowingly allowing a platform to be addictive to children and ultimately cause harm.
“Social media companies’ own research shows how addictive their platforms are for kids — and there’s nothing parents can do to stop it,” Assemblymember Cunningham said. “If you’re going to create a product for children, you need to design it in a way that doesn’t result in some of those kids becoming addicted and having to seek psychiatric care. Our bill would require social media companies to change their practices or be held liable for the damages their addictive features cause.”
When the News-Press asked for a comment on this bill, a spokesperson for Meta — the parent organization of Instagram, Facebook and other subsidiaries — previously pointed to a host of studies and information regarding what the company has done to protect youth.
A TikTok spokesperson also highlighted information about how the company encourages users to manage screen time and other guides for parents and youth about how to report inappropriate behavior and manage privacy settings.
“We’ve had kids over the last two years online and using social media apps at unprecedented levels, and we’re seeing unprecedented hospital admittance, unprecedented depression, eating disorders, suicidal ideations. There’s a real crisis among our youth,” Assemblymember Cunningham, whose district includes northern Santa Barbara County, previously told the News-Press.
The bill, AB 2408, unanimously passed out of the Judiciary Committee. It’s expected to be debated on the floor by the end of the month.
“I am thankful for my colleagues’ unanimous support in committee and look forward to bringing this important bill to the floor later this month,” Assemblymember Cunningham said in a statement.