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How the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) Could Impact Programmatic Advertising

Apr 21, 2022 5:00:00 AM

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.

KOSA proposes:

      • 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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