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Kids Online Safety Act reintroduced in Senate expected to pass with major support

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., reintroduced the Kids Online Safety Act with more than half of the Senate’s backing, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, suggesting that the bill will be filibuster-proof when it comes to the floor. 

On Thursday, Blackburn and Blumenthal announced that the revised bill had 62 senators on board, split evenly between both parties. If passed, it would be one of the largest Big Tech crackdowns in recent years, restricting content for minors that promotes substance abuse, the promotion of suicide, sexual exploitation and alcohol abuse. It would also mandate social media companies to implement certain controls to limit screen time, ban restrictive features and limit access to potentially harmful user profiles. 

‘This overwhelming bipartisan support for the Kids Online Safety Act—62 total co-sponsors, Democrats and Republicans—reflects the powerful voices of young people and parents who want Congress to act,’ lawmakers said in a joint statement. 

The fresh legislation comes just a few weeks after the CEOs of Discord, Snap, TikTok, X and Meta testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to discuss online child safety. It also addresses conerns raised by groups who opposed the legislation when it was first rolled out last year due to what they believed would be harmful to LGBTQ+ children. 

GLAAD, a nonprofit LGBTQ+ advocacy group, and the Human Rights Campaign both rescinded their previous opposition to the bill.

‘The recent watershed hearing with Big Tech CEOs showcased the urgent need for reform. With new changes to strengthen the bill and growing support, we should seize this moment to take action. We must listen to the kids, parents, experts, and advocates, and finally hold Big Tech accountable by passing the Kids Online Safety Act into law,’ lawmakers said. 

President Joe Biden urged lawmakers last year, when it was first introduced, to pass the bill. 

Schumer, who also faced pressure this month from hundreds of family members who blamed social media for the death of their children, said in a statement that he looks ‘forward’ to collaborate on a ‘bipartisan basis’ to advance the bill. 

The Kids Online Safety Act will require social media companies to design their products with the safety of kids and teens in mind, provide parents tools to protect their kids and give families more options for managing and disconnecting from these platforms.

I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis with Senators Blumenthal and Blackburn to advance this bill in the Senate,’

Earlier this month, the youngest victim whose relatives signed a letter to Schumer urging his support for the bill, was eight-year-old Lalani Erika Walton, of Texas. Her parents are suing TikTok and parent company, ByteDance, alleging the girl died of self-strangulation while participating in the viral ‘Blackout Challenge,’ which encouraged users to choke themselves with belts, purse strings or other similar items until passing out. 

Fox News’ Daniel Wallace contributed to this report. 

This post appeared first on FOX NEWS

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