LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday temporarily blocked Arkansas from imposing a new law that would have required parental consent for minors to create new social media accounts, preventing the country from becoming the first to impose such a restriction.
U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks issued a preliminary injunction NetChoice — a tech industry trade group whose members include TikTok, Facebook parent Meta, and X, formerly Twitter — asked to break the law. The measure, which Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed into law in April, is set to go into effect on Friday.
The Arkansas law is similar to the first restriction in the state signed into law Earlier this year in Utah. That law is not scheduled to go into effect until March 2024. Last year, NetChoice filed a lawsuit challenging a California law that requires tech companies to put children’s safety first by preventing them from profiling children or using personal information in ways that could physically harm children. Or mentally. .
In a 50-page ruling, Brooks said NetChoice was likely to succeed in its challenge to the constitutionality of Arkansas law and questioned the effectiveness of the restrictions.
“Age-specific social media platforms for adults and minors do not appear to be an effective approach, when in fact it is the content on certain platforms that raises the state’s real concerns,” Brooks, who was appointed to the judiciary, wrote. Former President Barack Obama.
Similar laws have been enacted that place restrictions on minors’ use of social media Texas and Louisiana, which is not scheduled to take effect until next year. Senior Republicans Georgia They said they would push for a parental consent measure in the legislature next year, and some Members of Congress Similar legislation has been proposed.
NetChoice argued that this requirement violated users’ constitutional rights and arbitrarily determined what types of speech would be restricted.
“We are pleased that the Court stood by the First Amendment and stopped an unconstitutional Arkansas law from censoring free speech online and undermining the privacy of Arkansas residents, their families, and their businesses as our case continues,” Chris Marchese, director of the NetChoice Litigation Center, said in a statement. “We look forward to permanently repealing the law.”
Republican Attorney General Tim Griffin said he was disappointed in Brooks’ decision.
“But I will continue to vigorously defend the law and protect our children, an important interest recognized in today’s federal judge’s order,” Griffin said in a statement.
Arkansas’ restrictions only applied to social media platforms that generate more than $100 million in annual revenue. It also wouldn’t apply to certain platforms, including LinkedIn, Google, and YouTube.
Social media companies have faced increasing scrutiny over the impact their platforms have on the mental health of teens, which is one of the concerns Sanders cited when she pushed for the legislation.
US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned that there was not enough evidence to prove this Social media is safe for children and teens, and called on tech companies to take “immediate action to protect children now”. Meta announced in June that it would add some New parental supervision tools and the privacy features of their platforms.
Social media companies that knowingly violate the age verification requirement would have faced a $2,500 fine for each violation under the now-banned law. The law also prohibits social media companies and third-party vendors from retaining users’ identifying information after they have been granted access to the social networking site.
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