House of Representatives members urge accountability from social media giants

Representatives of the House of Representatives sent letters to social media companies requesting information about their platforms and steps to reduce harm to children online.

Representatives Debbie Dingell and Kathi Castor led 18 members of the House of Representatives in sending letters to social media companies MetaTikTokSnapchatYouTubeTwitter, and Twitch requesting information about their algorithms and the steps they are taking to reduce harm to children online, as there is widespread concern that companies are not responsibly mitigating the risks and subsequent damage to children on their platforms, according to US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy.

Companies must protect children and teenagers from harmful content, conduct transparent assessments, use age verification technologies to enforce minimum age standards and emphasise safety, health and privacy to limit the risks of their platforms.

Lawmakers emphasise that the fast development of technology and electronic devices has increased children’s internet and social network usage and the accessibility of online data. Excessive use of social networks has been shown to harm minors’ mental health, and parents are concerned about their children’s privacy in the digital world.

Social media corporations exploit and profit from underage users through misleading design and referral systems, incentive in-app purchases, targeted advertising, and exposure to poor information and unhealthy behaviour. To safeguard all Americans online, Congress of US must approve bipartisan data privacy laws, but companies must protect children and teens.