Utah's law that requires social media platforms to remove explicit content and prevent minors from accessing harmful material could soon be implemented in other states.
The Social Media Protection Act, which was signed into law by Governor Spencer Cox in May 2021, mandates that social media companies must have policies in place to prohibit users under the age of 13 from creating accounts. Additionally, these companies must remove posts containing pornography or cyberbullying within 24 hours of being notified.
The legislation also requires social media platforms to allow users to filter out explicit content and establish a system for reporting inappropriate behavior. Failure to comply with the new law can result in fines up to $250,000 per violation.
Now, lawmakers from other states are considering similar legislation. Ohio state senator Andrew Brenner plans on introducing a bill modeled after Utah's law during the next legislative session.
"The internet can be a dangerous place for children," Brenner said. "We need stronger protections at the state level so parents can feel more secure about their kids' online activities."
Many experts believe that Utah's Social Media Protection Act is just the beginning of more comprehensive regulation of social media platforms across America.
"With over two billion active users worldwide on Facebook alone, it has become increasingly clear that self-regulation by tech giants simply isn't enough," said Professor Sarah Roberts of UCLA's Department of Information Studies. "States will continue passing laws like this until we see federal action."
Only time will tell if other states follow Utah's lead and pass similar measures aimed at protecting children on social media platforms.