Parents who have sued famous social media platforms such as Instagram and TikTok for causing harm to children who have gotten addicted to their services will no longer be able to do so in California following the introduction of a first-of-its-kind proposal in the legislature.
Only prosecutors can now file cases against social media sites, and they will be liable for up to $250,000 in damages per violation for using features that they know can lead to kid addiction.
According to CalMatters, the law, presented by Republican Assembly member Jordan Cunningham, was revised last month.
Cunningham believes that the adjustment was done to avoid opening the door to “frivolous claims.”
“Lawmakers appear to be more comfortable leaving this to public prosecutors, who are already taking the lead on this kind of consumer protection type stuff,” he added.
The bill is being opposed by California-based technology companies, who believe it is practically hard to separate social media content from the technologies used to convey it.
The plan would protect social media businesses from these lawsuits if they conduct quarterly audits of their features and remove any harmful items within 30 days of learning they lead children to become addicted.
Cunningham stated that the legislation will give social media companies an incentive to police themselves in order to avoid penalties and that most other items are covered by consumer protection rules that allow customers to sue companies for selling unsafe products.
(With inputs from agencies)
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