H. R. 821
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
February 2, 2023
Mr. Stewart introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce
To require providers of social media platforms to prohibit children under the age of 16 from accessing such social media platforms, and for other purposes.
This Act may be cited as the
Social Media Child Protection Act.
Requirements for social media platforms
A provider of a social media platform—
may not permit a child to access such social media platform;
may not permit any individual to access such social media platform unless such provider has verified the age of such individual by—
requiring such individual to provide a valid identity document issued by the Federal Government or a State or local government, such as a birth certificate, driver’s license, or passport; or
using another reasonable method of verification (taking into consideration available technology); and
shall establish and maintain reasonable procedures to protect the confidentiality, security, and integrity of the personal information of users and prospective users of such social media platform, which shall be consistent with the procedures required under section 1303(b)(1)(D) of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (15 U.S.C. 6502(b)(1)(D)).
Enforcement by Federal Trade Commission
Unfair or deceptive acts or practices
A violation of this section shall be treated as a violation of a regulation under section 18(a)(1)(B) of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 57a(a)(1)(B)) regarding unfair or deceptive acts or practices.
Powers of Commission
The Commission shall enforce this section in the same manner, by the same means, and with the same jurisdiction, powers, and duties as though all applicable terms and provisions of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 41 et seq.) were incorporated into and made a part of this section. Any person who violates this section shall be subject to the penalties and entitled to the privileges and immunities provided in the Federal Trade Commission Act.
Actions by States
In any case in which the attorney general of a State has reason to believe that an interest of the residents of such State has been or is threatened or adversely affected by the engagement of a provider of a social media platform in an act or practice that violates this section, the State, as parens patriae, may bring a civil action on behalf of the residents of the State in a district court of the United States of appropriate jurisdiction to—
enjoin such act or practice;
enforce compliance with this section;
obtain damages, restitution, or other compensation on behalf of residents of the State; or
obtain such other relief as the court may consider to be appropriate.
Before filing an action under clause (i), the attorney general of the State involved shall provide to the Commission—
written notice of such action; and
a copy of the complaint for such action.
Subclause (I) shall not apply with respect to the filing of an action by an attorney general of a State under this subparagraph, if the attorney general determines that it is not feasible to provide the notice described in such subclause before the filing of such action.
In an action described in item (aa), the attorney general of a State shall provide notice and a copy of the complaint to the Commission at the same time as the attorney general files such action.
On receiving notice under subparagraph (A)(ii), the Commission shall have the right to intervene in the action that is the subject of such notice.
Effect of intervention
If the Commission intervenes in an action under subparagraph (A), it shall have the right—
to be heard with respect to any matter that arises in such action; and
to file a petition for appeal.
For purposes of bringing any civil action under subparagraph (A), nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent an attorney general of a State from exercising the powers conferred on the attorney general by the laws of that State to—
administer oaths or affirmations; or
compel the attendance of witnesses or the production of documentary and other evidence.
Private right of action
A parent of a child injured by a violation of this section by a provider of a social media platform may bring in a district court of the United States of appropriate jurisdiction a civil action to—
enjoin the violation;
obtain compensatory damages and punitive damages; or
obtain such other relief as the court may consider to be appropriate.
Review and report to Congress
Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall—
review the implementation of this section, including the effects of the implementation of this section on providers of social media platforms, the efforts of the Commission to ensure such providers comply with this section and the successfulness of such efforts, any violations of this section by such providers, and the actions taken by such providers to verify the age and identity of users and prospective users of the social media platforms of such providers; and
submit to Congress a report on the results of the review described in paragraph (1).
In this section:
The term access means, with respect to a social media platform—
to establish an account on such social media platform;
to create a profile on such social media platform; or
to create, share, or view user-generated content through such account or profile.
The term child means an individual under the age of 16.
The term Commission means the Federal Trade Commission.
The term parent has the meaning given such term in section 1302 of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (15 U.S.C. 6501).
The term personal information means individually identifiable information about an individual collected online, including—
a first and last name;
a home or other physical address, including street name and name of a city or town;
an email address;
a telephone number;
a Social Security number; or
any other information the Commission determines permits the physical or online contacting of a specific individual.
Social media platform
The term social media platform means a website or other internet medium that does the following:
Permits a person to establish an account or create a profile for the purpose of allowing users to create, share, and view user-generated content through such account or profile.
Enables 1 or more users to generate content that can be viewed by other users of such medium.
Primarily serves as a medium for users to interact with content generated by other users of such medium.
The term social media platform includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.
The term State means each State of the United States, the District of Columbia, each commonwealth, territory, or possession of the United States, and each federally recognized Indian Tribe.
This section shall take effect on the date that is 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.