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Texas lawmaker proposes social media ban for minors

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Over the course of the last few weeks, a growing number of lawmakers at both the state and federal level have called for a ban on TikTok. Now, a Texas lawmaker is pushing for a ban on all social media for anyone under 18.

In August, Texas state Rep. Jared Patterson called social media the “pre-1964 cigarette.” Once thought to be perfectly safe for users, the North Texas representative said social media use by minors is leading to an increase in self-harm, mental health issues and suicides.

Patterson is the author of H.B. 896. The bill proposes new verification requirements for Texas teens on social media. According to the bill, “an individual between 13 and 18 years of age may not use a social media platform.”

If passed, the bill requires social media companies to verify a user’s age using a state-issued form identification and another photo for comparison. The bill doesn’t say if joint accounts between minors and parents would be allowed. However, there is a provision requiring social media companies to remove any accounts within 10 days at the request of a parent.

The bill doesn’t mention any social media company by name, nor does it define exactly what a social media company is. Due to its lack of clarity, Scott Babwah Brennan told Gizmodo he “would be somewhat surprised if this bill, as written, advances.” Babwah Brennan is head of online expression policy at the University of North Carolina.

Currently, most social media platforms require users to be at least 13 years old to join. However, there are no requirements that users prove their age.

IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS, A GROWING NUMBER OF LAWMAKERS AT BOTH THE STATE AND FEDERAL LEVEL HAVE CALLED FOR A BAN ON TIKTOK. NOW, A TEXAS LAWMAKER IS PUSHING FOR A BAN ON ALL SOCIAL MEDIA FOR ANYONE UNDER 18.

IN AUGUST, TEXAS STATE REPRESENTATIVE JARED PATTERSON CALLED SOCIAL MEDIA THE “PRE-1964 CIGARETTE.” ONCE THOUGHT TO BE PERFECTLY SAFE FOR USERS, PATTERSON SAID SOCIAL MEDIA USE BY MINORS LED TO AN INCREASE IN SELF-HARM, MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES AND SUICIDES.

PATTERSON IS THE AUTHOR OF LEGISLATION PROPOSING NEW VERIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR TEXAS TEENS ON SOCIAL MEDIA. THE BILL SAYS ANYONE UNDER 18 WOULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE A SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT.

IF PASSED, THE BILL REQUIRES SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES TO VERIFY A USER’S AGE USING A STATE-ISSUED ID AND ANOTHER PHOTO. THE BILL DOESN’T SAY IF JOINT ACCOUNTS FOR MINORS AND PARENTS WOULD BE ALLOWED. HOWEVER, THERE IS A PROVISION REQUIRING SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANIES TO REMOVE ANY ACCOUNTS WITHIN 10 DAYS AT THE REQUEST OF A PARENT.

THE BILL DOESN’T MENTION ANY SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY BY NAME, NOR DOES IT DEFINE EXACTLY WHAT A SOCIAL MEDIA COMPANY IS. BECAUSE OF ITS LACK OF CLARITY, SOME TECH EXPERTS SAID THE BILL IS UNLIKELY TO PASS AS WRITTEN.

CURRENTLY, MOST SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS REQUIRE USERS TO BE AT LEAST 13 YEARS OLD TO JOIN. BUT THERE ARE NO REQUIREMENTS THAT USERS ACTUALLY HAVE TO PROVE THEIR AGE.

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Over the course of the last few weeks, a growing number of lawmakers at both the state and federal level have called for a ban on TikTok. Now, a Texas lawmaker is pushing for a ban on all social media for anyone under 18.

In August, Texas state Rep. Jared Patterson called social media the “pre-1964 cigarette.” Once thought to be perfectly safe for users, the North Texas representative said social media use by minors is leading to an increase in self-harm, mental health issues and suicides.

Patterson is the author of H.B. 896. The bill proposes new verification requirements for Texas teens on social media. According to the bill, “an individual between 13 and 18 years of age may not use a social media platform.”

If passed, the bill requires social media companies to verify a user’s age using a state-issued form identification and another photo for comparison. The bill doesn’t say if joint accounts between minors and parents would be allowed. However, there is a provision requiring social media companies to remove any accounts within 10 days at the request of a parent.

The bill doesn’t mention any social media company by name, nor does it define exactly what a social media company is. Due to its lack of clarity, Scott Babwah Brennan told Gizmodo he “would be somewhat surprised if this bill, as written, advances.” Babwah Brennan is head of online expression policy at the University of North Carolina.

Currently, most social media platforms require users to be at least 13 years old to join. However, there are no requirements that users prove their age.

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