In February of 2022, U.S. Senators Blumenthal (D-CT) and Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Kids Online Safety Act or KOSA – legislation with the goal of enhancing children’s safety online.
KOSA is gaining momentum at a time where the focus is turning to what, if any, mental and emotional damage social media could be causing its youngest users. KOSA is also being seen as a much-needed update to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) legislation – sometimes being referred to as “COPPA 2.0” – which was enacted back in 1998.
Requiring social media platforms to provide young users (16 and younger) options to protect their online information, disable possibly “addictive” features, and opt out of algorithmic recommendations that pull from a user’s personal data to suggest content that keeps users engaged for longer.
Requiring platforms to enable the strongest possible privacy settings to minors by default.
Giving parents/guardians new controls to help support their children and spot harmful behaviors, including by providing children and parents with a dedicated channel to report potential harms to kids to the platform.
Creating a duty for social media platforms to act in preventing and mitigating content that could harm minors including promotion of unlawful products to minors (e.g. gambling, alcohol), self-harm, substance abuse, eating disorders, sexual exploitation, and suicide.
Requiring social media platforms to conduct a yearly independent audit aimed at assessing risks to minors on their service and issue a public report on the findings
Providing academic researchers and non-profit organizations access to social media platform datasets to conduct research on the safety and well-being of minors.
COPPA vs. KOSA:
KOSA would create additional compliance obligations for companies already subject to COPPA.
COPPA regulates the collection and use of data of children under the age of 13. KOSA instead focuses on activities that are likely to impact the type and amount of content minors (under 17) are exposed to online (source).
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Per the MRC,
“'Fraud' is not intended to represent fraud as defined in various laws, statutes and ordinances or as conventionally used in U.S. Court or other
legal proceedings, but rather a custom definition strictly for advertising measurement purposes. Also per the MRC,
“‘Invalid Traffic’ is defined generally as traffic
that does not meet certain ad serving quality or completeness criteria, or otherwise does not represent legitimate ad traffic that should be included in measurement counts.
Among the reasons why ad traffic may be deemed invalid is it is a result of non-human traffic (spiders, bots, etc.), or activity designed to produce fraudulent traffic.”