Columbus, Ohio – A trade group representing multiple social media sites has filed a lawsuit to block a new law in Ohio that would require companies to obtain verifiable parental consent for children under 16. The law, known as the Parental Notification by Social Media Operators Act, is set to take effect on January 15. Trade group NetChoice, which counts Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and others among its clients, claims that the law is unconstitutional.
This is not the first time NetChoice has taken legal action against states that have enacted laws regulating social media use and internet privacy. The group has a track record of suing to challenge these types of laws. In this case, the lawsuit alleges that the law infringes on minors’ free speech rights and is too vague in its language.
The law would require certain online platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, to include parental consent as a condition of their terms of service for allowing teenagers and children to use their platforms. Parents would have several options for verifying consent, such as signing a digital consent form, using a credit card or online payment system, calling a toll-free number, connecting with trained personnel via video conference, or providing a form of government-issued identification.
If the operators fail to provide notification or terminate a child’s access without consent, parents can reach out to the website operator, who would then have 30 days to revoke the child’s access. If the operator does not comply, parents have the option to file a complaint.
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, a proponent of the law, urged NetChoice to drop the lawsuit, stating that the law aims to make parents an essential part of the equation. However, NetChoice argues that families should be empowered to make their own decisions regarding online services and privacy protections.
In conclusion, a trade group representing various social media platforms has sued the state of Ohio over a new law requiring parental consent for children under 16. The lawsuit claims that the law violates minors’ free speech rights and is too vague. The law, set to go into effect on January 15, would require platforms like Facebook and TikTok to include parental consent as part of their terms of service. Parents would have multiple options for verifying consent, and if operators fail to comply, parents can file a complaint. Lt. Gov. Husted has called on the trade group to drop the lawsuit, emphasizing the importance of parental involvement in online activities.