ICYMI: Heritage Expert Testifies Before House Committee Regarding Data Privacy and Safety of Kids on Social Media

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ICYMI: Heritage Expert Testifies Before House Committee Regarding Data Privacy and Safety of Kids on Social Media

Apr 17, 2024 1 min read

WASHINGTONKara Frederick, director of the Tech Policy Center at The Heritage Foundation, testified Wednesday before the House Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce. The hearing, “Legislative Solutions to Protect Kids Online and Ensure Americans’ Data Privacy Rights”, addressed the threats Big Tech poses to users’ data privacy and the impact of addictive social media on children.  

A former Facebook team lead and Department of Defense counterterrorism analyst, Frederick detailed in her opening statement how companies exploit user data:  

“At the heart of all of this is the privacy question. I submit that the incentives of private companies to blow past fines, forgo privacy enhancing technologies and age verification, and recruit kids would be curtailed if we had a national data protection framework. Such a privacy regime would insulate all Americans—old and young—from the worst to come.” 

In her testimony, Frederick also warned about the addictive content and damaging impacts of social media on children: 

“Recent scholarship is finally beginning to reify a causal link between social media and negative impacts on children and teenagers in the West. A January 2023 study conducted by neuroscientists at the University of North Carolina found that social media use, particularly “social media checking behaviors,” could be associated with changes in sensitivity to social rewards and punishments in children’s brains. In other words, habitual social media use is rewiring the brains of kids as young as 12 years old.” 

When asked by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers about putting more stringent requirements on Big Tech companies, Frederick said:  

“Private companies shouldn’t be considered sacrosanct. They are just as capable of infringing on Americans’ God-given rights as the government, and often do so hand in glove.” 

Watch the entire hearing here

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