New York is set to restrict social media companies from using algorithms to control content for young people without parental consent, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday (3 June), citing people familiar with the matter. 

According to the report, the New York legislation aims to restrict social media companies from presenting their automated algorithms to young people. 

Platforms will also not be able to send young people notifications in the night-time without parental consent, the bill states. 

The news comes as social media companies have come under fire for not addressing human rights risks and online harms.

In response, new regulations such as the UK’s Online Safety Act (2023) and the EU’s Digital Service Act (2023) are forcing companies to address these matters, impacting platform design and business models.

In February, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said that his administration had filed a lawsuit against Meta’s Facebook and other social media companies for their impact on young people’s mental health. 

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According to DataReportal’s Digital 2023 April Global Statshot report, cited by GlobalData, approximately 5.2 billion people worldwide use the internet, and 4.8 billion use social media. This means social media platforms are used by nearly two-thirds of the world’s population and around 90% of all internet users.

US President Joe Biden signed legislation in April that could see a nationwide ban on TikTok, the short video app currently used by approximately 170 million Americans.

Representative Frank Pallone said he hopes the divestment of TikTok will enable Americans to “continue to use this and other similarly situated platforms without the risk that they are being operated and controlled by our adversaries”.

TikTok continues to refute claims that it has, or ever will, share US user data with Chinese authorities.