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Hochul Continues Fight for Laws To Regulate Kids’ Social Media Feeds

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Governor Hochul meets with advocates to highlight mental health resources for young people and efforts to address harmful impacts of social media.
Mike Groll/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday continued her push to try to regulate social media companies and how they use algorithms that negatively affect what children see in their feeds.

Hochul said passing laws to ban tech companies from sharing kids' personal data and using harmful algorithms to steer their social media feeds are her top priorities for the final two weeks of the legislative session.

“There's one area where I know it can make a real difference," said Hochul, speaking at the Mental Health Association in New York State headquarters in Albany. “And this is the effects of the addictive ... algorithms that are intended to bombard our young people when they scroll social media, and to draw them in deeper and make it harder for them to put down their device or to interact at a personal level with others.”

There’s been stiff resistance from tech companies including Meta and Google, and there are currently not enough votes in the Legislature to pass the bills. Hochul said talks with the tech companies are continuing.

“My experience tells me that the initial reaction to legislation that tells an industry what our values are, what we think they should be doing, is always met with resistance. It's very natural,” Hochul said.

She added she won’t be “scared off” by the industry’s objections.

“We're sticking with this fight. We're not giving up,” she said. “So now it's time to come to the table and work with us.”

Hochul said the legislation would also require better age verification requirements. She said those steps would go beyond simply filling in a birthdate.

The governor said it's urgent that lawmakers act before the session ends in early June. She said she does not want a whole generation of young New Yorkers struggling with mental health challenges.