Censoring the news won’t keep kids safe

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At a time when disinformation is running rampant, KOSA will cause social media platforms to remove real journalism. "Texting Congress 1" by afagen is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Lawmakers in both parties and the White House are pushing the Kids Online Safety Act, or KOSA, a bill that would require online platforms to mitigate harms like anxiety and depression to minors as a solution to the alleged dangers the internet poses to teens. But more than 90 LGBTQ+, human rights, and civil liberties organizations already oppose KOSA, arguing it will make kids less safe.

It will also make kids — and everyone else — less informed, as Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) Deputy Advocacy Director Caitlin Vogus explains in Tech Policy Press:

Many news outlets reach people through social media, and half of Americans say that they use social media sites as a source of news at least sometimes. But if KOSA passes, platforms will strip news from their services as they try to comply with the law.

Some platforms may intentionally remove news content, which they may consider both depressing and anxiety-producing. But even if they don’t remove the news on purpose, platforms will inevitably end up taking it down by accident as they try to moderate other content. Content moderation tools are blunt instruments that don’t understand context or nuance. Platforms will erroneously flag and remove news reports about suicide, eating disorders, illegal drugs, and other topics KOSA covers.

Read more in Tech Policy Press about how KOSA will cause platforms to overremove news content and censor important information that kids need to know.

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