Inside a High-Stakes Fight to Limit Social Media’s Hold on Children

When New York’s governor and attorney general joined forces to pass a law trying to restrict social media companies’ ability to use algorithms to shape content for children, they expected Big Tech to put up a battle.

That fight has certainly arrived, but with far more opponents than anticipated.

A broad range of online service providers, including Google, TikTok and Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has spent over $700,000 on lobbyists to press legislators and state officials, according to recent state disclosures.

The spending represents aggregate amounts that includes other items on the lobbyists’ agendas, and the istanbul escort disclosures do not state whether the companies are for or against the legislation. But interviews and public statements show that most are opposing the bill — and a related bill connected to child data privacy — or raising concerns about the measures going too far, with some saying it could have unintended consequences on e-commerce sites or digital news publishers.

Companies like eBay and Etsy and a news media trade group that includes The New York Times have also raised concerns about the bills, which would bar companies from using algorithms to produce “addictive feeds” for minors unless they have parental consent, and would limit the personal data from children that they can collect and sell.

The bills have powerful champions, including Gov. Kathy Hochul and Attorney General Letitia James, whose office largely wrote the legislation last year just before joining a multistate coalition that sued Meta for deploying features that “purposely addict children and teens.”

The legislation has also drawn significant support from Republican lawmakers, mirroring the bipartisan support social media regulation efforts have garnered in Congress and other states, and underscoring the anger politicians on both sides of the aisle have directed toward technology companies.

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