Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced new legislation to make social media companies liable for bodily or mental harm their products cause to children. Senator Hawley’s bill would close the Section 230 loophole protecting these companies and allow parents to sue and obtain damages from social media companies wholly or partly responsible for harm to users under 16.
Senator Hawley said, “Facebook has long had evidence of the harmful effects their products have on children but covered it up because it would hurt their profits. These Big Tech monopolies know exactly how addictive and manipulative their products are but they’re content to rake in billions by exploiting children. Parents need to be given the tools to take back control.”
Senator Hawley’s bill follows reporting from the Wall Street Journal on internal research from Facebook showing the company was aware its products were harmful to children’s mental health but did nothing about it. At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, Senator Hawley grilled Facebook’s Vice President of Privacy and Public Policy over the leaked documents.
Full text of Senator Hawley’s bill can be found here.