NEWS & ANALYSIS

Bill to Allow Parents to Sue for Social Media Addiction Passes California State Assembly


A bill that would allow parents to sue social media platforms for harming children who have become addicted to them passed the state Assembly on Monday. 

Indeed, the bill would allow parents to sue for up to $25,000 per violation, and defines “addiction” as kids under 18 who are harmed physically, mentally, emotionally, developmentally or materially – and who want to reduce how much time they spend on social media but can’t. 

The bill would only apply to social media companies that made at least $100 million in gross revenue over the past year, appearing to take aim at giants like Facebook and others, Fox 5 New York reports.

“The era of unfettered social experimentation on children is over and we will protect kids,” Assemblymember Jordan Cunningham, the Republican author of the bill, said. 

The bill now heads to the state Senate, where it will go through weeks of hearings and negotiations among lawmakers. 

The bill gives social media companies two ways to escape liability in the courts. If the bill becomes law, it would take effect on January 1st. Companies that remove features deemed addictive to children by April 1st would not be responsible for damages.

Also, companies that conduct regular audits of their practices to identify and remove features that could be addictive to children would be immune from lawsuits.