New Jersey Mulls Restrictions On Teens' Social Media Use

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would prohibit social media companies from allowing minors under 18 to have social media accounts without parental permission.

The measure, which advanced Monday in New Jersey's Assembly Health Committee, also would require social platforms to verify all users' ages.

Lawmakers in Utah and Arkansas recently passed similar laws, but those measures are currently facing court challenges.

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Brooks in Fayetteville, Arkansas, temporarily blocked that state's law in September, ruling that the restriction on minors' use of social media probably infringes teens' First Amendment rights, and the age-verification requirements would likely chill adults' speech on social media.

Earlier this week, the tech industry group NetChoice sued to block Utah's law, arguing the bill is unconstitutional.

On Tuesday, NetChoice wrote that New Jersey's proposed law would also violate people's right to free speech.



“Government-imposed age verification requirements to access speech are an unconstitutional restraint on the listener and the speaker’s First Amendment rights,” the group wrote in an analysis of the bill.

The group added that laws requiring companies to verify users' ages “would put an end to anonymous or pseudonymous speech on social media despite the fact that the ability to speak anonymously is protected under the First Amendment,” and could also expose users to security threats.

“Requiring social media companies to collect personal information about their users ... poses a greater risk that the data will be obtained by bad actors,” the organization writes.

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