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Senator Josh Hawley wants social media platforms to use ID age verification

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Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) plans to introduce a legislative package whose focus is requiring platforms to verify the age and ID of its users, including limiting the minimum age of social media access to 16.

Hawley’s main goals, according to NBC News, are requiring ID age verification on social media, requiring companies to provide parents with the option to demand the deletion of their children’s data, and commissioning congress to conduct a study on the mental health impact social media has on kids.

The idea is similar to that of the state of Louisiana, where the age verification to access adult content is quickly forcing the adoption of digital ID.

“For me, this is about protecting kids, protecting their mental health, protecting their safety,” Hawley said. “There’s ample evidence to this effect that Big Tech companies put their profits ahead of protecting kids online.”

According to Hawley, over the past 10 years, social media companies have performed “a giant social experiment involving our kids, where big tech makes gobs of money, collects gobs of data, which they then sell and make even more money on.”

“And kids get hurt in the process,” he added. “And so the whole aim of this agenda is: Let’s do something real and tangible, that is going to protect kids online and get power back to parents.”

Senator Hawley will introduce the pieces of legislation in the next few months and hopes they will draw bipartisan support.

“I’ve had a lot of conversations with Democrats across the aisle and over the years about this topic generally and about different pieces of this,” Hawley said. “I don’t see this as a partisan issue. I mean, this is about protecting kids from the irresponsible and rapacious Big Tech companies. Every parent in America, whatever your political persuasion, or if you have none, can agree with that.”

The father of three added: “I don’t want to do stuff that is just sort of symbolic.”

“We are looking for ways to give parents and kids, where appropriate, actual legal rights where they can force the companies to do XYZ or go to court. So I think that giving real legal power, shifting the power from the tech companies to parents and kids through enforceable rights, including rights of action in court, I think is a key thing here.”

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