Science and Tech

Meta advocates enacting parental control laws targeting under-16 users

Meta is urging the implementation of laws mandating parental approval for app downloads by minors, shifting responsibility to app stores like Apple and Google instead of social media companies.

The proposal aims to establish parental controls within app stores, a move driven by Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, amidst criticisms about its handling of teenagers on its platforms.

Antigone Davis, Meta’s global safety head, emphasized the need for an “industry-wide solution” to regulate children’s social media use. She proposed that app stores should notify parents and seek their approval when a teenager under 16 attempts to download an app, akin to the process for approving purchases.

Meta’s suggestion comes in response to mounting legal challenges regarding child and teen safety issues on its platforms, including recent testimonies to US Congress highlighting concerns about Instagram’s protection of teens from online harm.

Acknowledging the growing complexities, Meta stressed the necessity for national legislation to uniformly address this issue, advocating for a collaboration between the industry and lawmakers.

This move by Meta reflects broader challenges faced by social media platforms globally, with increasing regulatory pressures, particularly in regions like the EU, impacting data privacy and influencing companies’ strategies, such as Meta’s introduction of a subscription fee to navigate privacy laws.

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