COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A trade group representing TikTok, Snapchat, Meta and other major tech companies sued Ohio on Friday over a pending law that would bar children from using social media apps. Parental consent is required.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
The legislation was part of an $86.1 billion state budget bill that Republican Gov. Mike DeWine signed into law in July. It is set to come into effect from January 15. The administration pushed the measure as a way to protect children’s mental health, with Republican Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted saying at the time that social media was “intentionally addictive” and harmful to children.
The NetChoice trade group filed its lawsuit against GOP Attorney General Dave Yost in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. It seeks to prevent the law from taking effect.
The lawsuit argues that Ohio’s law — which requires social media companies to get parental permission for children under 16 to sign up for social media and gaming apps — Unconstitutionally hinders free speech and is broad and vague.
The law also requires social media companies to provide their privacy guidelines to parents, so families can know what content will be censored or moderated on their child’s profile.
“At NetChoice, we believe that families armed with educational resources are better able to determine the best approach to online services and privacy protections for themselves,” Chris Marchese, director of the organization’s Litigation Center, said in a statement. “With NetChoice v. Yoast, we will fight to ensure that all Ohioans can adopt digital tools without disrupting their privacy, security and rights.”
The group has won lawsuits against similar bans in California and Arkansas.
Husted, who leads Ohio’s technology initiative and is a supporter of the legislation, called Friday’s lawsuit “cowardly but not unexpected.”
“In filing this lawsuit, these companies are determined to go after parents for exposing children to harmful content and getting them addicted to their platforms,” Husted said in a statement.
He alleged that the companies knew their algorithms were harming children “with terrible health and mental health consequences.”