In full transparency, the following is a media release from Sen. Ed Markey, who was elected by voters in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to serve the state in Washington DC in the US Senate. He is a Democrat. (stock photo) SOURCE publishes press release from elected leaders as a community service.
WASHINGTON DC With TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew’s testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), author of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, delivered remarks on the Senate floor calling for action to regulate not only TikTok, but all of Big Tech in order to address the youth mental health crisis being fueled by social media companies.
Senator Markey and Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) plan to reintroduce their bipartisan Children and Teen’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0), an update to Senator Markey’s 1998 law that would strengthen and expand online privacy protections while providing young people and their parents a bill of rights across social media platforms and online. The legislation would ban targeted advertising to children, extend existing privacy protections for children to young teens, and create a Youth Marketing and Privacy Division at the Federal Trade Commission.
WATCH: Senator Markey on TikTok and the need to defend children and teens’ online privacy
Below are excerpts from his prepared remarks:
“Over the past several weeks, I’ve heard my colleagues on both sides of the aisle voice concerns about an issue I’ve been raising for years: protecting children and teens from online dangers. Recently, much of that conversation has focused on the social media app, TikTok. I want to be clear: TikTok poses serious and specific privacy problems…
“Here’s the reality: asserting that TikTok stands alone as the one platform that poses a serious surveillance threat to our nation’s youth is deliberately missing the Big Tech forest for the TikTok trees…TikTok needs to be regulated immediately. We can agree on that. But it is absolutely not the only digital danger kids face today…
“In other words, I agree with my colleagues—let’s make sure kids are protected from Chinese surveillance. But at the end of the day, our moral obligation is to protect our youngest people from an entire industry that poses a direct and existential threat to their generation’s well-being…
“Big Tech is knowingly and willfully fueling a youth mental health crisis. You don’t have to take my word for it. Listen to the President of the United States. Listen to the Surgeon General of the United States. Listen to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Experts all over the country are drawing a straight-line from Big Tech’s business model to the devastating impacts on young Americans’ well-being…
“That’s why, for more than a decade, I’ve been introducing legislation that would solve that problem. My update to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act gives young people and their parents an online bill of rights that would rein in Big Tech and stop those companies from putting profits over people. We came very close to passing key provisions from that legislation at the end of last year. Unfortunately, industry lobbyists and Republican leadership stood in our way. But we are not deterred.
“We are more determined than ever to get this done on behalf of the parents, pediatricians, and young people who are demanding action. I know we can do it, and there are leaders in the House and the Senate, in both parties, who want to get this do