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Louisiana Legislature Advances Bill to Protect Minors from Targeted Social Media Ads

NEW ORLEANS — In a move aimed at safeguarding minors from the influence of targeted social media advertisements, Louisiana lawmaker Rep. Kim Carver, R-Mandeville, has introduced House Bill 577. Presented to the House Commerce Committee on Monday (4/22), the bill has since been advanced for consideration by the full House.

Carver emphasized the bill's intention to restrict social media companies from utilizing personal data to tailor advertisements toward minors within Louisiana. "This bill is simply a bill that says in Louisiana for users that are minors in Louisiana, we are not going to collect and sell their data for targeted advertising," Carver stated.

Support for the legislation came from Dylan Rhoton and Emma Bonney, high school seniors who are members of the Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAS). Rhoton highlighted the detrimental effects of personalized ads on teen audiences, citing their promotion of unrealistic beauty standards and social trends. Bonney echoed these concerns, referencing studies indicating a negative impact on body satisfaction among girls under 19 due to exposure to such media images.

Notably, no opposition was voiced against the bill during the committee proceedings. Rep. Candace Newell, D-New Orleans, expressed regret that adults had not taken earlier action to shield youth from these influences, acknowledging the challenges of regulating technology in a rapidly evolving landscape.

Carver emphasized collaboration with tech giants Google and META, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, during the bill's drafting process. "I feel like we really provided a balance and almost threaded the needle between what they should be able to do and what their responsibilities are versus protecting our kids," he remarked.

The advancement of this legislation comes amidst broader discussions surrounding the regulation of social media platforms. On Saturday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill targeting TikTok, amid concerns regarding data privacy and the platform's Chinese ownership.

Despite the growing scrutiny, not all individuals share the same concern regarding social media algorithms and targeted advertising. College student Ava Kuruzovich of New Orleans expressed a relatively relaxed view, stating, "Sometimes I feel like the ads are a little targeted or the feed is a little targeted but it’s not super concerning to me."

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