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Snap endorses Kids Online Safety Act ahead of tech CEO hearing

Snap Inc., the developer of Snapchat, endorsed the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), a proposal that would add regulations to the social media company and its industry peers, a company spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

The endorsement comes roughly a week before Snap CEO Evan Spiegel is scheduled to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about protecting children online. The CEOs of Discord, TikTok, Meta, and X, the company formerly known as Twitter, are also slated to testify.

“Protecting the privacy and safety of young people on Snapchat is a top priority, and we support the Kids Online Safety,” a Snap spokesperson said in a statement.

The spokesperson said many of the provisions in the legislation are “consistent with our existing safeguards,” such as setting teens’ accounts to the strictest privacy settings by default, providing additional privacy and safety protections for teens and offering in-app parental and reporting tools.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with lawmakers on this important legislation,” the spokesperson added.

Politico first reported news of Snap’s KOSA endorsement.

It appears to be the first time a social media company has backed the bipartisan bill, which would require social media companies to provide minors with options that aim to protect their information, disable addictive product features and opt them out of algorithmic recommendations.

NetChoice, a tech industry group that names Snap among its association members, along with TikTok, Meta and X, has come out strongly against the legislation.

The bill, led by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), would also create a duty of care for social media companies to prevent and mitigate harms to minors, such as from content promoting self-harm, suicide or eating disorders.

The legislation would require companies to perform an annual independent audit to assess risks to minors and compliance with the rules.

In a joint statement, Blumenthal and Blackburn welcomed Snap’s endorsement.

“Big Tech has caused irreparable harms to countless young people and their families. We are pleased that at least some of these companies are seemingly joining the cause to make social media safer for kids, but this is long overdue. We will continue fighting to pass the Kids Online Safety Act, building on its great momentum to ensure it becomes law,” the senators said.

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