Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a bill Wednesday requiring minors to obtain parental consent before setting up social media accounts.
Arkansas’ Social Media Safety Act stipulates that social media companies “shall not permit an Arkansas user who is a minor to be an account holder on the social media company’s social media platform unless the minor has the express consent of a parent or legal guardian.” Age verification methods include a driver’s license or government-issued ID. (RELATED: ‘My Eldest Is Grateful’: Jennifer Garner Reveals That She Won’t Let Her Kids Have Social Media Accounts)
“If a social media company performs a reasonable age verification, the social media company shall not retain any identifying information of the individual after access to the social media platform has been granted,” the bill notes, addressing concerns about data security.
In March, Utah passed a similar bill, which is set to take effect in 2024.
For years, social media companies have gotten away with exploiting kids for profit.
I signed a new law today requiring social media companies to verify the age of all new Arkansas users — and if an account holder is under 18, they’ll need parental permission. pic.twitter.com/k0WO8438wM
— Sarah Huckabee Sanders (@SarahHuckabee) April 13, 2023
The restrictions included in the Arkansas bill do not apply to media platforms making less than $100,000 annually. A social media company that does not comply with the new law could face a fine of $2,500 per violation.
Arkansas filed lawsuits against Meta and TikTok in March, claiming the companies violated the state’s Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The lawsuits allege that the platforms lied about the safety of the apps for young people.
“We have to hold Big Tech companies accountable for pushing addictive platforms on our kids and exposing them to a world of inappropriate, damaging content,” Sanders said at the time. “Arkansas is leading the charge on filing three lawsuits against TikTok and Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram.”