The Future. It’s now common knowledge that social media is damaging to humans’ mental health, especially teens. To help prevent further harm, Congress is considering several bipartisan bills to set stricter content moderation standards for platforms and potentially let the government circumvent encryption. If passed, the bills could protect minors — at the expense of everyone’s privacy.
On the docket
Of the bills proposed, two have center stage.
- KOSA would allow authorities to sue platforms that don’t proactively remove dangerous material that promotes suicidal ideation, eating disorders, gambling, or drug use.
- EARN IT aims to curb the propagation of child sexual abuse material by making platforms liable for any illicit content users saw or downloaded, effectively forcing proactive removal of that content. The bill was recently passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee but has yet to be voted on.
Civil liberties groups and tech advocates oppose these bills, which they fear could limit free speech, weaken encryption, and require more intensive data collection from children to be properly enforced. There’s enough staunch opposition to these bills that they may not make it through the house — but if they do, say goodbye to Incognito mode.