Session: 2023-2024

ACLU-PA Position: Opposes

SB 22 (PN 1099) would amend Title 50 (Mental Health) to restrict access to social media by minors (under 16 years old) by prohibiting social media companies or platforms from “intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or negligently caus[ing] or encourag[ing] a minor to access content which the social media companies know or should have known subjects one or more minors to harm that is detrimental to the physical health, mental health or the wellbeing of a minor or that creates a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury or death to the minor.” Social media companies / platforms that violate this requirement can be sued for actual damages and punitive damages. SB 22 would also, among other provisions, require the express consent of parents / guardians for minors to create social media accounts.

Although this legislation is well-intentioned, the ACLU-PA opposes SB 22 for the following reasons:

  • SB 22 would threaten the First Amendment rights of young people.
  • SB 22 will likely have dire consequences for young people, especially vulnerable youth.
  • SB 22 would invite parental surveillance, potentially denying kids access to online support or help.
  • SB 22 would define causing “harm” to minors in broad, subjective, and unenforceable ways.
  • SB 22 begs important monitoring and enforcement questions.

Check the bill's status here.


Senator Vincent Hughes



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