Arkansas law requiring parent’s consent for minors’ social media access temporarily blocked  

A temporary block for the Arkansas bill requiring select social media companies to verify the age of minors prior to the set up of an account in the future immediately comes into effect.

A federal judge instituted a temporary block on the Utah bill requiring parents to consent before minors create new social media accounts on August 31, 2023. The bill, scheduled to go into effect on September 1, 2023, mandates platform companies generating more than $100 million in annual revenue to perform age verification checks on new users. Those violating the law would face a $2,500 fine for each infringement. 

The pushback on the legislation started when Netchoice, a group of tech giants, namely Meta, TikTok, and X, filed an injunction against the law, stating the bill imposes burdensome penalties, violates constitutional rights in singling out types of speech, and arbitrarily selects revenue as the parameter bringing platforms under scrutiny. The law does not apply to YouTube, Google and LinkedIn. 

The Arkansas legislators promise to battle for the enactment of the bill, claiming that social media companies have long abused public trust, affecting children’s social, mental, and physical well-being.

Why does it matter?

The impasse between legislators and social media companies now behooves policymakers and tech companies to work collaboratively to decipher the root causes of the societal ills that have emerged with the ubiquitous use of social media, particularly by minors. It also makes solution building in this space much more difficult.