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AFP-WV Key Vote Alert: Oppose H.B. 5226: Child Social Media Protection Bill

Feb 16, 2024 by AFP

Dear Lawmaker:

On behalf of our activists across West Virginia, I urge you to oppose House Bill 5226. This vote may be recorded in our 2024 session legislative scorecard.

Americans for Prosperity believes parents are best suited to determine what their children should or should not have access to. Families, not tech companies or the government, should be the ones making decisions about what our kids have access to.

Neither technology companies nor the government are best positioned to mandate how parents protect their children. Additionally, companies like Apple and Google have robust family control systems already in place that allow parents to not only decide what their kids see on the internet but what apps they can have – and more. Bills like HB 5226 unfortunately do the opposite of their intent and give families a false sense of security, as many of the regulations for tech companies included in the bill are unenforceable.

While well intentioned, ultimately House Bill 5226 would allow for a new criminal inquiry every time a minor lies about their age on the internet and require that every West Virginian hand over their government mandated ID to every social media company they choose to use. In a world where robust, manufacturer designed, and pre-installed parental controls can be found on every smart phone and computer, this legislation is overly broad and not needed. Furthermore, when both public and private actors face routine cyberattack, requiring that Mountaineers put even more of their personal information out into cyberspace is an unnecessary risk to their privacy and security.

We can all agree that keeping our children safe is of the utmost importance, and we believe that parents, not the government or tech companies, are the best equipped to do so. It is for these reasons that I ask you to vote “no” to oppose House Bill 5226.

Sincerely,

Jason Huffman

State Director

Americans for Prosperity-West Virginia

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